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T^i ?6¥y^l 

1)arvar^ College Xibrari^ 



Class of 1838 


H. H. Tge: ffc$cni Majjapajag. Sip Rama Vapma (Mulam Tipunal), ©.C.S.I.. S.C.I.E., 

a;gce:nSe:S t^c Mu;snu3. 1915 Sugu;gt, 1883. 

Photo by Z. DXraz. 

M. K. PRIM. 



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TRAVAN'v. OltT.i 
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Travancore State Manual 


V. NAGAM AIYA, B. A., F. R. Hist. S.. 
Dewan Peishcar, Travancore. 





I-^ "I 0H4-,\ 


Under command of His Highness the Maha Eajah, the 
preparation of the State Manual of Travancore was decided upon 
some time ago, and I was appointed to it with the simple in- 
struction that the book was to be after the model of the District 
Manuals of Madras. This instruction 1 have faithfully carried 
out and I am happy to report now that the book is completed 
and issued in three large volumes. Although I have allowed 
myself some latitude in forming my own conception of the design 
and scope of the work and devoted my best attention and energies 
to their exposition and elucidation, I still feel I might have done 
better if I had been left to myself, to work at it leisurely, spending 
"a laborious day upon each page,'' undisturbed by limitations 
of time and space. 

The diflSculty of compiling a work of this nature will readily 
enlist the sympathies of those who have laboured in similar 
fields, for as Sir Frederick A. Nicholson points out in his Eeport 
on Agricultural Banks, at which he worked for about 3 years : — 

" The delaj in submitting the report is due to many causes, principally to 
the immensity and complexity of the subject, to the difficulty of ascertaining and 
then of obtaining sources of information, to the discontinuity thereby imposed 
when a half finished study had to be broken off tiU the receipt of fuii;her infor- 
mation, to the extreme difficulty arising from the incessant demands of a 

Collector's work notwithstanding two periods of special duty For the 

Madras Presidency statistics and information did not exist, and it is only 
through much enquiry and by the courtesy of numerous correspondents that 
information has been obtained." 

Mr. H. H. Eisley's portion of the Indian Census Report of 
1901 covers, according to Mr. Gait,* 136 pages of that volume — 

• In the Introduction to the Report on the Census of India (1903) Vol. I. pp. xvi nn^ 
xrii, Mr. E. A. Gait, i. c. »., writes :— " The Office of Census Commissioner for India was held 
by Mr. H. H. Risley, c. i. e., from its creation in October 1899 until September 1902 when, 
imfortunately for the Census, his services were required for a higher appointment and his 
immediate connection with the operations came to an end. At that time the reports for a 
number of Provinces and States still remained to be received, and it had thus been impossible 
to make much progress with the Greneral Report for the whole of India. Mr. W. F. Meyer 
c. I. s., took charge of the office temporarily, in addition to his duties as Editor of the Imperiai 
Gazetteer, and I succeeded him as Census Commissioner on the 23rd January 1903. In spite 
of the pressure of other work, Mr. Risley has himself completed the Chapter on Caste, and the 
pcniions of four other Chapters, as noted in the margin, are also from his pen. " 

V. N- 

IT Pbbfaob. 

% circumstance which can hardly represent the magnitude of his 
labours or research during the 3 years he was in charge of the 
last Imperial Census. The Report of Sir James Thomson's 
Excise Committee, which w^as ordered by the Gk)Vertittieiit of 
India to be submitted in 8 months i. e. by the end of April 1908^ 
evidently took more time than was anticipated. It id Hot fe% 
available to the public. More instances could be cited to pliote that 
neither the quantity of matter written nor the time taken 6Bik 
serve as a correct gauge of the labour or research invol'tfed is 
an undertaking of this sort. This is the invariable ex^erteittJe 
of all past workers. 

Now that the work is finished, no word of explanation or 
justification is needed save to remove misapprehension in certain 
quarters. The idea of writing a State Manual was first broached 
to me by Dewan T. Rama Row, c. i. e., one fine morning 14 years 
ago, i. e. even before I had begun to compile the Census Report 
of 1891. He said I must do the Census Report first and 
then take up the Manual. All this was, of course, to biB done 
along with my heavy legitimate duties as Dewan Peishcar Einli 
District Magistrate of Quilon, which I then was. I agreed Without 
a moment's hesitation though fully alive to the responsibility I 
thus took upon myself, for it was impossible for me to decline 
an offer so kindly made and with such flattering compliments by 
80 estimable a chief as Dewan Rama Row. He immediately 
obtained His Highness' sanction and sent me official orders 
in the last quarter of 1891. He retired a few months later aod* 
with his retirement the matter was dropped, for nothing came of 
it during the six years of Mr. Shungrasoobyer's Dewanship, as 
he did not seem to care for it at all. Dewan Bahadur Srinivasa 
Raghavaiyangar, c. i, e., complains of a parallel circumstance 
in the writing of his book, * for he says in his Preface : — 

" The departure of Lord Connemara to England and pressure of other c^ieial 
work led to the preparation of this Memorandum being laid aside for some time, 
and I was able to resume the work only in the latter half of 1891. Since then 

* * Forty yean* ProgrMi of Madras * 

Pbbva«. ▼ 

I b^vft^ beeo mpre or leas engaged on it, but as the work has had to be carried on 
in, Addition to m^ other official duties, it has not been possible to finish it earlier. '^ 

Tfea matter was however revived by Dewan Mr. K. Krishna- 
swanay Bow, c. i. e., in 1901, and during his time I devoted to 
ifc, off and on, 8uoh leisure as the pressing duties of the 
^:^t;l?B;api^t Depairtmenti pei^nitted. It was only in December 
1904 that I took it up as a full-time officer and it may be safely 
Bai4 that the best part of these three closely printed volunaes is 
the result of assiduous and sustained labours carried on since. 

In :^eport^g completion of the manuscript of the book, I 
wtQi^ ^o Ijhe Dewan in my letter, No. 387 dated Ist October 1905„ 

" Jf^ opBtinqation of my letter No. 371 dated 26iih August 1905, 1 have the 
honour to inform jou that I have finished the State Manual of Travancore in 
whieb I have been engaged continuously for the past nine months and my ser- 
vices are available for any other work which His Highness' Government may be 
ptosMcttp sinlaTast me with.'' 

I added : — 

" I take this oppoi-tunity of expressing my o^rateful acknowledgments to His 
T^jprlipi^fif^' Gpvernppieut for entrustiag this important work to m^ without any 
soliciiation on my part — a work in \vhich I have spent much thought and study 
dozsng'. seTacal years past thoagh owing to more pressing duties I oould not 
deYOte. tg ii that attention which it deserved, except at distant intervals of busi- 
ness. It is due to us also to add that my extremely limited staff and myself 
h%i^ ii9>rM0d with energy and diligence." 

To this letter the Dewan made no reply. • The additional 
Ijime thereby gained has however proved of much advantage to 
the work ; not only were the proofs read carefully and well, but 
the old data, already collected, were verified, new data added 
where possible, some chapters were either revised or wholly 
re-written, additional matter put in, the manuscript throughout 
w%^ tpjiphedr up and the whole book itself satisfactorily finished 
apjj. p^*3ed through the Press, with a full table of contents, a 
gloBft^ry of vea^nacular terms and an exhaustive index. In the letter 
rQfci?:i^ to above, viz.. No. 371 dated 26th August 1905, I hs^d 

'' I estimajted the work to be completed in 6 months at the most, but thttt 
was, as I explained to you in my letter noted in the margin (No. 313 dated 23rd 
May 1905) iftider the belief that Twas tobe allowed a staff of 10 chBrk» appHwHwp- 

T Fbbfacv. 

by me, the choice of clerks from the permanent Departments whowonld not mn 
away as 7 or 8 temporary clerks did during the last 7 months, and that I was 
to be allowed also to expend the money saved every month by shortage of hands. 
You disagreed to every one of these 3 proposals. So it became impossible for 
me to finish the work in 6 months as originally estimated in my letter of the 

11th November 1904 I believe I have been very moderate in applying 

only for 3 months' time from the 30th June last. Under the circumstances 
explained above, there was ample justification for my asking for 6 months* more 
time. But as 1 have already reported, I am most anxious to be done with this 
work as early as possible/' 

Mr. Srinivasa Raghavaiyangar, the talented compiler of the 
Forty Years' Progress of Madras, took 27 months to write his 
book — a volume of 340 pages, speaking of quantity alone, the 
subject-matter of which is admittedly one of a more homo- 
geneous and less complex nature than that of a State Manual. 
And yet in his forwarding letter to Government, Srinivasa 
Raghavaiyangar wrote of the delay in the issue of his book thus : — 

** The collection and reduction of the necessary statistics and the preparation 
of the second part of the memorandum took up more time than I had anticipated 
and I was able to complete the work only last May notwithstanding that I took 
privilege leave for three months in the beginning of this year for the purpose." 

His achievement is a safe criterion to judge of the work of 
other labourers in similar fields, for to my mind the late Srini- 
vasa Raghavaiyangar was a perfect embodiment of indefatigable 
industry, deep thought, wide reading, unostentatious independence 
and high literary skill. In these circumstances, no. special justi- 
fication seems needed for the unavoidable delay in the issue of 
the Travancore Manual, a work of an encyclopaedic nature spread 
over a space of more than 1820 pages of letter-press — to say 
nothing of the continued strain, the anxious and unremitting at- 
tention or the huge preliminary studies it cost. 

As for the plan of the book, it is enough to say that the mass 
of information collected has been thrown into 21 chapters and 
placed in 3 volumes for convenience of handling. Under these 21 
chapter-headings almost every subject of importance and interest 
concerning the State has been brought in. For these chapter- 
headings several District Manuals of Madras have been consulted, 
particularly the revised ones of Bellary and Anantapur by 

Pft?FAC3E. vii 

Mr. W. Francis, i. c. s., and it is enough to observe that the Travan- 
core State Manual is fuller and more comprehensive than the 
Manuals of Madras. In order to do justice to the amplitude of 
information collected and the labour spent upon it, the size of 
the book has been enlarged into three volumes from what was 
originally intended to be one moderate-sized volume. It would 
be false economy, I thought, to throw away the results of great 
labour and research in order to save some printing space. Tedious- 
ness were, in my view, a much lighter fault under such circum- 
stances, especially in a book of this nature ; but terseness has 
been my ambition, though after the most conscientious en- 
deavours to clip and prune I could not do more, on the present 
occasion, without keeping out matter which I really wished to 
retain. Even as it is, I feel the chapters on 'History' and 
'Castes' are capable of further amplification, particularly the 
latter chapter, of which onlj' the outer fringe, so to speak, has 
been touched in these pages. It is a never ending theme of value 
and interest, and the stores of information still available on it 
remain unutilised. A whole volume ought to be devoted to 
'Castes' alone. The chapter on the 'Gazetteer' may well 
be amplified in a future edition. 

In the writing of this book, niy aim hati been to present to 
an utter stranger to Travancore such a picture of the land and its 
people, its natural peculiarities, its origin, history and administra- 
tion, its forests and animals, its conveniences for residence or travel, 
itsagricultural, commercial, industrial, educational and economic 
activities, its ethnological, social and religious features as he may 
not himself be able to form by a 30 years' study or residence in it. 
If this is a correct view of the object of a Manual, I trust I may be per- 
mitted to entertain the hope that a fairly successful debut has been 
made, notwithstanding defects or shortcomings that may exist, 
especially as this is only a pioneer attempt in a novel direction. 
It is not necessary to prejudge here what a revision might give 
qpportunities for, in the way of condensing in some directions or 
amplifying in others. If I get the chance myself at a not distant 

Viii Preface. 

date, I should probably do both and thus try to reach the ideally 
perfect Manual, perhaps a vain Utopian desire, which standard of 
excellence however, I know, is far from having been attained in 
the present performance. 

In the ' History ' chapter in which I have spent much 
thought and study, I have endeavoured to give faithful pictures of 
Parasurama's early colonists and their autonomous governments, 
their landed aristocracy, their peculiar tenures and permanent 
tenantry, of the later kings and ministers, of wars and conquests, 
of the dissensions of the Ettuvittil Pillamars, the Tampis and 
the Yogakkars, their mutual jealousies and intrigues, of the fortunes 
of the minor principalities which make up the Travancore of to- 
day and the events which led to their final absorption, of the chief 
forces that were at work during successive epochs which enabled 
a petty vilhigo near Eraniel to reach its present dimensions of a 
compact block of territory 7,000 sq. miles in area, of the European 
powers that successively bid for supremacy of trade on this coast 
and the ultimate success of the English East India Company, our 
early friendships with them and the staunch support which they 
in return uniformly gave us through all vicissitudes of fortune, 
ultimately resulting in a strong bond of political alliance and reci- 
procal trust and confidence, which assured to us internal security 
and immunity from external aggression, thus enabling us to 
achieve the triumphs of peace and good government, until step 
by step we reached the enviable height of being known as the 
* Model Native State' of India — a title which we have maintained 
by wise rule and sound financial policy during successive reigns 
up to this day. And this has been no easy task as the narrative 
had to be woven out of a tangled web of falsehoods and mis-state- 
ments, of exaggerated versions and contradictory chronicles, in- 
separable from oral tradition, fragmentary record and a disorga- 
nised debris of scattered and confused materials. The diflBculty 
of writing a history of events which took place long ago is great 
indeed, for as pointed out by John Morley, in his ' Life of 
Gladstone \ '* Interest grows less vivid ; truth becomes harder to 

Preface. ix 

find out ; memories pale and colour fades ". It is much more so 
in the case of a nation — the events of whoso life and progress 
cover a space of many centuries and comprise multitudinous 
interests and concerns. Tlie History chapter is dealt with in 
three sections, viz., Ancient history, Early history, and Modern 
history — the last comprising a period of 10 reigns or 175 
years, bringing the narrative down to the end of the year 
1079 M. E. (15th August 1904), that being the last year for 
which full information was available on this and other headings 
when the book was written. 

The labour involved in the task was truly gigantic, for it often 
entailed a wading through a mass of records of all sorts in order 
to get at a grain of information. The nature of the research may 
be judged from the following extract of my letter to the Dewan, 
dated 25th June 1903 :— 

" Afl suggested in your D. O. of 1st Inst., I beg to submit herewith a 
revised list of records to be obtained from Fort St. George. I liave cut down 79 
numbers from the list of 33G papers originally selected, which itself was a selec- 
tion from a total of about 600 papers i*elating to Ti-avancore. In a matter like 
this where the granting of the application for records is entirely a question t)f 
pleasure with Government, there can bo no argument ; all tliat T can say is that 
an indulgent view should be taken of the application and that 1 sliould be given 
some latitude in the choice of records. Tt is possible that a good many of tlie 
papers that one has to read through in the f)i'eparation of a book or report may 
not be ultimately utilized. In the opinion of Milman, one of the biograpliers of 
Lord Macaulay, * The historian, tlio true historian must not confine himself to 
the chronicles and annals, the public records, the state papers, the political 
correspondence of statesmen and ambassadors; he must search into; he must 
make himself familiar with the lowest, the most ephemeral, the most contemjit- 
ible of the writings of the day. There is no trash which he must not digest ; 
nothing so dull and wearisome that he must not w^ade througli '. In the instance 
which the Resident refers to, viz., ' note of the firing of the usual salute on the 
departure of the king of Tmvancoi'e to the nortli ', I should just like to know 
what the actual 'salute' fired was, if such information is available from that 
record. It is not of course absolutely essential for my book. It may even be 
put down as a mei-e antiquarian curiosity ; but if so, it is a curiosity whicli is 
justifiable, * * * * ] shall content myself with the paj)ers that are ])laced 
at my disposal. " 

'Archaeology', 'Fauna', ' Census and Population V Language 
and Literature', 'Economic Condition', and 'Legislation and 
Statute-book' are new chapters in this Manual, not found in the 
revised Madras Gazetteers. ' Local Self-Government ' is a heading 

X Pkeface, 

which I have not utilised as we have nothing corresponding to 
it here just yet. The information under my other chapters viz,^ 
* Religion V Castes', 'Trade and Commerce', ^Arts and Industries', 
*Land Tenures and Land Taxes', and ^Administration' deals with 
the matter comprised in Mr, Francis' chapters on the People, 
Occupation and Trade, Land Revenue Administration, Salt, Ab- 
kari and miscellaneous revenue and Administration of Justice. 
The other chapters are the same in both the books. 

I have been much exercised in the matter of arranging the 
order of the chapters in the Manual. What I have ultimately de- 
cided upon, though slightly diflEerent from that adopted in the 
Madras Gazetteers, appears to me to be the most natural order. It 
is thus. The first 4 chapters deal with the lie of the land, its cli- 
matic conditions and its exuberant vegetable and animal life. The 
next 2 chapters deal with History and its chief basis for facts, viz.j 
ArchsBology. The whole of the second volume (chapters VII to 
XII) deals \s ith the people as a whole in all their many-sidedness, 
i. e. their growth of numbers, their faiths, ethnography, language, 
education and health. The first 5 chapters of the third volume deal 
with the economic condition of the people such as agriculture and 
irrigation, trade and industries and the conveniences that exist for 
the same. Then come 3 chapters dealing with ' administration ' 
more or less ; and the book concludes with an alphabetical descrip* 
tion of places of interest, so necessary for a stranger to understand 
a country aright. This arrangement I believe is the most natural 
one to adopt and has been finally resolved upon. 

One encouraging circumstance in the course of writing the 
book has been the fact that some of the chapters were perused in 
manuscript by Messrs. G. T. Mackenzie, i. c. s., and J. Andrew, 
I. c. s. , our former British Residents. Both of them expressed 
approbation of the work done. Mr. Mackenzie who took a warm 
interest in the progress of the Manual from the very beginning 
wrote to me on the 9th October 1903 : — 

" 1 have perused the Mss. of the fii^st portion of the Manual and it Beems to 
me to be excellent. " 

Agaitif, he wrote on the 8tb February 1904 : — 

" I return these draft chapters with many thanks ; thej are really very good" 

Again on the 19th November 1904 ( the day he resigned the 
Civil Service and left Tfavando*e),h6 Wad good enough to writ^ of 
the 'Hf^ory* chdptfei' thnb :— 

" I have now perused it and find it deeply interesting. I hive corWcted 
oM o# two clerltsal errors but otherwise there is nothing to alter. " 

Since then, one whole chapter and a portion of anoth«'hkte 
been submitted for His flighndss the Maharajah's pefnisat. 
Mr. B. C. C. Oarr, i. c. s. , Bar-at-Law, the present British 
Resident^ has now perused several chapters of the ManuaL He 
wrote on the 8th April 1906 :— 

"I am much obliged to you for your kindness in sencKng me the advance 
copy of the second portion of the State Manual. It contains a great deal of 
intere»ting matter and I hope to stndy it shortly. I have already received the 
bound copy of Vol. I and am very glad to have it ." 

To my numerous helpers in this work I offer my grateful 
acknowledgments* No work of this magnitude can be satisfactori- 
ly performed except with the aid of a host of coadjutors; and I 
have had that aid from all sides — ofl&cers of Government, retired 
public servants, vakils, journalists, private individuals, land-lords, 
planters, bankers, merchants, agriculturists, Vydiam, Man^ 
travadisj Christian metrans^ bishops and missionaries and numer* 
ous other correspondents of divers sorts. As was justly remarked 
by Sir J. A. Baines, k. c. s. l, i. c. s., in his preface to the Im- 
perial Census Report of 1891, 

" The Census deals with so many subjects each of which, in the present day 
falls within the province of a specialist that no single individual can safely trust 
to his own nnaided capacity in reviewing them, but is forced like Moliere, a 
prendre son hien on ill he trouve, and I have done my best to acknowledge such 
depredations at the time I have found it convenient to make them ." 

The same may be said of my State Manual, for which if I 
havfe been compelled to make depredations, it will be noted that 
I have ungrudgingly acknowledged them in the body of the book 
itself, for such acknowledgment not only lessens the burden of my 
responsibility but also confirms my own opinions, thereby enhan- 
cing the value of the work achieved. 


I must next express my obligations to Mr. C. V. Raman Pillai, 
B. A., the energetic Superintendent of tlie Government Press, for the 
help and co-operation he has willingly rendered in passing this 
huge work through the press, in spite of repeated calls on him for 
urgent work from other departments of the State. He has also 
prepared the index to the Manual which I entrusted him with, 
under orders of Government, on account of his special experience 
in it as the late Indexer to the Travancore High Court. I have 
to commend his work to the notice of Government. 

A map of Travancore specially designed for this book by Mr. 
G.N. Krishna Rao, Superintendent of Survey is placed in the pocket 
at the end of the third volume. A few photographs are also insert- 
ed to illustrate the book ; more should have been put in but for the 
cost. If time had permitted, I should have added a volume of 
appendix of papers made in this connection, containing mono- 
graphs on several special subjects, Sthalapuranoms of temples and 
places of pilgrimage, accounts of noble families and the chiefs of petty 
principalities, extracts made from books, newspapers and maga- 
zines and documents examined in the course of these studies and 
other evidence relied on in the writing of the Manual, all of which 
will form a mass of valuable data, upon which to base more ex- 
tended researches in the same direction in the future. 

In conclusion, I beg to tender my respectful thanks to His 
Highness the Maharajah's Government for having vouchsafed 
to me the opportunity of performing so herculean a task — notwith- 
standing the many difficulties and obstacles I had at the outset. 
At one time it appeared to me, judging from the correspondence 
that took place, that I was engaged in a thankless work amidst 
inhospitable surroundings, and that though I had undertaken it 
years ago under favourable auspices, a change had come and I 
was evidently exhausting myself in an uphill work, which would 
give no satisfaction. The following extract of my letter to the 
Dewan, dated the 20ih June 1905, will explain the circumstance. 
I wrote : — 

Preface. xiii 

'* I do not wish to refer to the observation which you have more than once 
made in your letters about * entrusting the work to other agency '. This is a 
matter entirely left to the pleasure of Government. I was appointed to the 
writing of the State Manual by His Highness' Government without any solicita- 
tion on my part ; and three of your immediate predecessors who knew me and 
the public service thoroughly well for long years, concun'cd in thinking that the 
work should be done by me, as if they could not think of any other officer equally 
competent to do it, though for my part I did not show the least unwillingness 
to give it up, especially as I was so fully occupied otherwise. They evidently 
meant it to be done by me during intervals of business, as they all knew the 
quality of similar work I had done befoi-e, which repeatedly received the appro- 
bation of His Highness' Government. " 

This however was only a passing cloud and the situation soon 
improved. Now that the difficulties have all been surmounted and 
the work itself done and done to my own satisfaction more or less, 
there is but one feeling uppermost in my mind, and that is one 
of deep thankfulness and gratitude to Government for the 
opportunity aflEorded me to associate my name with a book of this 
nature, in which I trust Government will see ample evidence 
of earnest, assiduous and sustained labours on my part, for 
more than a year past. 

It is hardly necessarj^ to add that the views expressed and 
the suggestions made in these volumes, the result of years of 
patient study and observation, are wholly conceived in the 
interests of the State and the people ; and as such I have no 
doubt they will receive careful consideration at the hands of 
Government in due time, for when carried out they will, I am 
satisfied, not only add to the credit of His Highness' enlightened 
rule but, in the wise words of Bacon, " make the estate of his 
people still more and more happy, after the manner of the legis- 
lators in ancient and heroical times.*' 

Trivandrum, V. NAGAM AIYA. 

16th August 1906. 


Chapter I. 

Vol. I. 

Physical Description. 
Sec. a. physical features 
Sec. B. geology 

Chapter II. Climate, Eainfall, and Meteorology 

Chapter III. Flora 

Chapter IV. Fauna 

Chapter V. Archaeology 

Chapter VI. History. 

Sec. a. ancient history 

Sec. B. early history 

Sec. C. modern history, 
martanda varma 
rama varma 
bala rama varma 


RAMA VARMA (Swati Ttrunat) . . . 
MARTANDA VARMA (Uttram Tirunal) 
RAMA VARMA {Ayilliam Tirunal) 
RAMA VARMA (VisaJcham Tirunal) 


Tirunal — Present Maharajah) ... 








S69— 416 



Physical Description. 

SECtioN A. Pm^sicAL Features. 

Name op the Country, page 1. Geographical Position, 3. 
BouNDtjLBfiBS,, 3. Shape and Area, 3. General Features, 4. Moun- 
TAiNSf 11 — Chief Plateaux : — Gudaramala, 13 ; Devicolam, 13 ; Anay- 
Gadoo, 18 ; Eravimala, 13; Perumalmala, 13 ; Anchanad, 13 ; Vattavada, 13 ; 
EuBdala, 13. Passes, — Bodinaickanur, 14 — Tevaram, 14 — Kambam, 
14 — Gkidalur, 16 — Shivagiri Ghaut, 16 — Achankovil, 15 — Aryankavu, 15 — 
Shaoar Ghaut, 15 — Aryanad, 15 — Mottacchimala, 15 — Tirukkurangudy, 
16— Aramboly, 16— Yedamala, 16. Eivers, 16— The Periyar, 17— The 
MinachU River, 18 — The Muvattupuzha Kiver, 18 — The Kanni or Pamba 
River, 18— The Kallada Eiver, 19— The Manimala River, 19— The Achan- 
kwil or Etklakfcada River, 20 — The Attungal or Vamanapuram River, 20 — 
The Itthikkara River, 20— The Killiyar, 20— The Karamana River, 20— 
The Neyywr> 21 — The Paralayar or Kuzhitturayar, 21 — The Kothayar, 21 — 
The Pazhayar or theVatasseri River,21. Canals and Backwaters, 22. 
Coast Line, 26. Ports and Shipping Facilities, 27— Alleppey, 27 — 
Poracad, 28 — QuiloH, 28 — Tangasseri, 29 — Anjengo, 29 — Puntora, 30 — 
Viahinjam, 30 — Colachel, 30 — Cadiapatnam point, 30 — Manakudi, 31 — 
Cape Comorin, 31. pp. 1 — 32. 

Section B. Geology. 

GiOLOGY Proper, page 32. The Gneissic Series, 33. The Var- 
*AtA 6A Cuddalore Sandstone Series, 37. Marine Beds, 42. 
Bto^frtt SAin>s, 44. Coral Reefs, 45. Soils, 46. Smooth-water 
ANTdtfORAGfis, 46. Economic Geology, 51 — Plumbago, 51 — Iron, 52 — 
Limestone, 63 — Granite, 53 — Mica, 53. pp. 32 — 54. 


Climate, Rainfall, and Meteorology. 
CLrtiATE, page 55. Seasons, 56. Temperature, 59— Diurnal vari- 
atroti, 59— Annual variation, 60. Rainfall, 65 — Annual variation, 66 — 
Perteds ot deficient rainfall, 66. Wind, 69 — Variation of wind velocity, 
69: Sidltt*^, 11. Earthquakes, 73. pp. 55—75. 

^v' Table of Contents. [Vol. I. 


Introductory, page 76. ^Valuable Timber Trees, 80— Teak, 
80 — Malabar Blackwood, 81— Ebony, 81 — Sandalwood, 82 — Anjili, 
82— Thambagam, 82— Venga, 83— Thembavri, 83— White Cedar, 
84— Red Cedar, 84— Ventekku, 84— Jack, 84— Irul, 85— Mayila, 85— 
Manjakadambu, 86 — Ceylon Oak, 86 — Manimaruthu, 86 — Mango, 86 — 
Malampunna, 86— Cheeni, 87 — ^Pathiri, 87— Cotton Tree, 87— Karunta- 
gara or Vaga, 88— Malakanjiram, 88 — Iron-wood, 88— Nedunar, 88— 
Shurali, 88 — Indian Copal, 88 — Malavuram, 89 — Kalasan, 89 — Kollamavu, 
89— Arayanjili, 89— Aval, 89 — Venkotta, 89— Mukkampala, 89— Palaga- 
payani, 89 — Maruthu or Pumaruthu, 89 — Kanakaitha, 89— Kar Anjili, 
89 — MuUuvenga, 89 — Pambarakumbil, 90 — Kattu Iluppa, 90 — Puthan- 
kalli,90 — Karuva, 90 — Kalpayin, 90 — Shenchandanam, 90 — Kattu Puvan, 
90— Wynaad Shingle-tree, 90 — Vellakasavu, 90. Trees yielding Gums, 
Resins and Dyes, 91. Avenue Trees, 92. Cycads and Palms, 94. 
Bamboos and Reeds, 95. Fibrous Plants, 97. Medicinal Trees and 
Plants, 99— Vettila Kasturi, 100— Peruntutti, 100— Kuppameni, 100— 
Nayuri, 100— Vasamboo, 100— Adatoda, 101— Bilva, 101— Chittaratta, 
101 — Lemon grass, 101 — Vilamicham, 101 — Karuntumba, 101 — Samudra- 
chedi, 101 — Perumarundoo, 101 — NirmuUi, 101 — Kattu Atthi, 102 — Alpam, 
102— Erukkalai, 102— Modakattan, 102— Seema Agathi, 102— Karuva, 
102 — Elumichai, 102 — Sankhapushpam, 103 — Nervalam, 103 — Mavilan- 
gam, 103 — Kuvamanjal, 103 — Kasturimanjal, 103 — Veliparuthi, 103 — Karu- 
salankanni, 103 — Mullumurunga, 304 — Devadaram, 104 — Kammatti, 104— 
Karunochi, 104 — Choratti, 104 — Kazhanchi, 104 — Narunindi, 104 — Koda- 
gapala, 105— Modirakanni, 105 — Maravetti, 105 — Vallarai, 105 — Orelata- 
mara, 105 — Indian Jalap, Shevatai, 105 — Kattumallika, 106 — Kattama- 
nakku, 106 — Vembu, 106 — Champaka, 106 — Thottavadi, 106 — Karuvep- 
pila, 106— Wild nutmeg, Jatikkai, 106— Sweet Basil, 107— Tulasi, 107— 
Nelli, 107— Kilanelli, 107— Pevetti, 107— Black Pepper, 107— Kodiveh, 108 
—Pomegranate, 108— Nagamalli, 108— Karinghota, 108— Sandalwood, 108 
— Belamodagam, 108 — Ealettadi-maravara, 109 — Senkottai, 109— Agathi, 
109— Kandankathri, 109— Tooduvala, 109— Tanikai, 109— Indian Almond, 
109— Kadukai, 109— Sirukanjori, 110— Nerunji, 110— Peppodal, 110— 
Narumpanel, 110 — Chembara valli, 110 — Ginger, 110 — Jujube, 111. 
Flowering and Ornamental Plants, 111— Allamanda Cathartica, 111— 
Samstravadi, 111 — Mandarai, 111 — Porasu, 111 — Saralkonnai, 111 — Chiru- 
tekku, 112 — Sankhapushpam, 112— Kasturimanjal, 112 — Murunga, 112 

Vol. L] Table of Contents. xvii 

Gloriosa superba, 112 — Cheraparuthi, 112 — Adakodien, 112 — Thetti, 112 — 
Kattumallika, 112 — Kattujirakamulla, 112 — Manimaruthu, 113 — Nedum- 
chetti, 113 — Champaka, 113 — Indian Cork tree, 113 — Vellila or Velli- 
noiadantai, 113 — Lotus, 113 — Sweet-scented Oleander, 113 — Parijatakam 
or Pavazhamalli, 113 — Alii, 113 — Kaitha, 114 — Venga, 114 — Nandiya^ 
vatta, 114. Concluding bemabks, 114. pp. 76—117. 



Pbepatory Note, page 118. General, 119. Mammals, 120. Birds, 
126. Reptiles, 134. Fish, 136. Hymenoptera, 138. Diptera, 143. 
Lepidoptera, 143 — Series I. Rhopalocera, 143 — Series II. Heterocera 
Moths, 147. Coleoptera, 150. Neuroptera, 153. Orthoptera, 154. 
Rhynchota, 157 Thysanoptera and Thysanura, 158. Myriapoda, 159. 
Arachnida, 159. Crustacea, 161. pp. 118 — 163. 



Introductory, page 164. Architecture, 165 — Dravidian, 165 — 
Jaina and Buddhistic, 165 — Indigenous or Malabar, 165 — Description of 
Sri Padmanabhaswami's temple at Trivandrum, 166. Sculpture, 169 — 
Indigenous, 169 — Buddhistic, 169 — Jaina, 169 — Brahminical, 170. Coins, 
170 — A. Indigenous, 170:— Gold Coins, 170; Silver Coins, 172; Copper 
Coins, 173; Zinc Coins, 173— B. Foreign Coins, 174 :— Early Bud- 
dhistic, 174; European, 174 ; South Indian, 174; Ceylon, 175. Inscrip- 
tions, 175 — Tables showing the inscriptions arranged according to their 
age, 176 — to the Taluqs in which they occur, 176 — to their character, 177 — 
to their language, 177 — to the materials on which they are inscribed, 178 — 
to their subject-matter, 178 — to their donors, 179 — to their donees, 179 — 
Vattezhuttu, 180— Kolezhuttu, 181— Old Tamil, 181— Copies of inscrip- 
tions and translations :— Plate A., 182— Plate B., 183— Plate C, 185— 
Plate D., 185 — Plate E., 187 — The language of the inscriptions, 194 — 
Their date, 194 — Locality, 194— Value, 195 — Subject-matter, 195. Forts 
AND MILITARY WORKS, 200 — The Udayagiri Fort, 201 — The Padmanabha- 
puram Fort, 202 — Vattakotta Fort, 203 — List of Forts in Travancore, 204. 
Tombs and Monuments, 207, pp. 164 — 208, 

xviii Tablb of Contents. [VoIk I. 



Genbbal remarks, 209. Materials for History, 209. 

8(botion: a. A»oibn?u HiSttdRY. 

TiaADlTioN'AL, page 210 — Parasuraona, 210 — His vow of vengeance, 
212 — The destruction of the Kshatriyas, 212 — His repentance and penance, 
212^ — Erection of Keralam, 213 — Scientific explanation of this tradition, 
213 — Designation and extent of this new land, 213 — His Yagam, 213 — The 
Aryan colonisation of Keralam, 214— Introduction of trees and plants in 
Keralam, 214 — His innovations in the customs of the colonists, 214 — The 
N<bg«w and serpent worship, 215 — His gift of land to the Brahmins, 215 — The 
Brahmins* inability to rule the land, 216 — Parasurama crowns Bha^nu- 
vikrama as king of Kerala, 216 — The land of Parasurama, 216 — Aditya 
Varma crowned king of Kerala, 216 — Inauguration of the military system, 
216 — ^Founding of temples and shrines, 216 — Laying down the Acharams 
to the new colonists,216 — Institution of schools of medicine, 216 — Inaugura- 
tion of the ceremonies Mahamagh<im, Hiranyagarhlia/m and Tulapurusha- 
danarriy 216 — Founding of more temples and places of pilgrimage, 217 — 
Creation of a military order from among the Brahmins, 217 — His quasi- 
religious military organisations,^ 217 — Temples and worship, 218 — His de- 
parture and curse, 219. The Pbrumals, 219 — Systems of Government fol- 
lowed after Parasurama's departure, 219 : — An oligarchy in ancient Kerala, 
219 — ^How it is described in Keralolpatti, 219 — An elective protectorate, 
220 — Its failure, 220 — Keya Perumal chosen king of Keralam for twelve 
years, 221 — His limited powers, 221 — The Chola and Pandya Perumals, 
221 — Bhuta Raya Pandy Perumal, 221 — Enmity between the Brahmins 
and the latter, 221 — The story of his murder, 221 — The rise of a new caste 
the Nambidis, 221 — Other versions of this story, 221 — Mr. Logan's expla- 
nation, 221 — King's powers limited in ancient Keralam, 222 — The separa- 
tion of the northern Gramams from the southern, 222 — Rearrangement of 
the southern Gramams, 222 — Bana Perumal a new king, 222 — The Maho- 
medan missionaries, 222 — Conversion of Bana Perumal into the Islam, 
222 — The people perplexed at this, 222 — Their absolving of this sin, 222— 
Bana Perumal set aside and another Perumal installed, 222—- Criticism upon 
Bana Perumal's conversion, 222— Kulasekhara Perumal, 223 — Accredited 
to be the same as the King of Keralam of the same name, who lived in the 
Eraniel palace in South Travancore, 223 — Reorganisation of the Brah- 
mins into a military guild, 223 — A Kshatriya from Vijayanagar appointed 
king again, 223—The Kolattiri families, 223 — Invasion of Kerala by a 

{qyeigil'lEing, 2247rrTTlxe last of the Ferumals, 224 — >General remarks on 
t^e Peruro^ls and the Viceroys from the Chera, Pandya and Chola 
iguDgdotm, 324-r-Their iden,tification wid dates, 224 — Mr. Logan dates the 
P^lWl^l J>eriod down to 826 a. d., 225 — ^His account of Ctieraman Permnal's 
CQQyer^ion, !32d — Eei;aarks on the distribution of Kerala by the last 
of Ite Peinmials amoi?ig his relatives and friends, 225 — General inference 
fa^m all ,l^e traditional and other accounts about the Perumalsi 225. 
The Aj^TiQUiqry OF • Kbbalam, 229 — Mention of the Cholas, Cheras and 
Pandjras and Mahendragiri in the Eamayana, 230 — Of Cape Comorin, 
Janardanam and the Cholas and Keralas in the MaJiabharata, 230 — Of 
tl)e Ker^^vs and the Pandyas in the Baghuvamsa of £^alidasa, 230 — Kera- 
If^ mentioneid in the Puranas, 230 — Mention of the produce of the 
M^.labs^? Cwfit in the Old Testwnent (1000 B. c), 230— Of Kerala in 
KaAyaya^a's and Patanjali's works, 230 — Of an embassy to JSmpe^r 
Augustus from the Pandyan Ruler in Strabo*s works, 231 — ^Aqcoimt of 
Soman coii^ preserved in the palace of Trav^jicore kings ^om of old, 
231-^Names such as Calabothros, Purali, &c., standing for the Ruler of 
Kei;ala and Kerala, as mentioned by the Greek writers Pliny, Ptolemy 
aioi o^ers, 231 — A Gupta inscription, Varahamihira's works, inscriptions, 
Qppper-|4ftte documents and other Sanskrit works mentioning about 
Een^a, 232 — Early European and Mahomedan travellers, 232 — Native 
chronology according to tradition, 233 — Taylor's date of the reclamation of 
£;eral^, §03rTr-.The probc^ble date, 234. Cqncluding bemabk^, 234. 

pp. aia-236. 

Section B. Early History. 
Part I. (up to 1100 a. d.) 

Introductory, page 237. Early Dravidian merchants, 237. The 
Earliest Traders (b. c. 1000-300), 237— The Phoenicians, 237. Early 
GrBBBK Accounts (300 b. c. — 150 a. d.), 238. South India and Rome 
(80 B. c.--^540 A. D.), 241. The Early Missionaries, (346 a, D.-r-«25 a.d.), 
243. Trade with China, 244. The Early Mahomeiuns> 244. Tbe- 
BiTORiAL Extent, 246. Neighbouring Kingdoms, 247. Politioal 
organisation in Malabar, 249. The People, 250. Sankaraohabya, 
250. pp. 237---250. 

Part U. (1100—1400 a. d.) 


A. D., 251 — Conquest of Vizhinjam by Rajendra Chola Deva, 251. 
Tee bbllalas driven out prom Kerala, 251. Territorial extent 

XX Table of Contents. [Vol. 1. 


ViRA Kerala Varma I. of Venad (1125), 252. Sri Kodai 'Kerala 
Varma (1145-1150), 252. Sri Vira Eavi Varma (1161-1164), 252. 
Sri Vira Kerala Varma II. (1164-67J, 253 — A Travancore Princess 
married to the Pandian King Sri Vallabha Pandya, 253. Sri Vira 
Udaya Martanda Varma (1173), 254. Sri Devadaram Kerala Varma 
(1192), 254. Jatavarman Kulasekhara king of North Travancore, 
254. Sri Vira Eama Varma Tiruvadi of Venad (1196), 255 — The 
Six Hundred, 255. Sri Vira Eaman Kerala Varma (1209-1214), 255. 
Sri Vira Eavi Keiula Varma (1235), 256— The Manalikara Pro- 
clamation, 256. Sri Vira Padmanabha Martanda Varma Tiruvadi 
(1252), 258. Uma Devi, 258. Jayasimhadeva of Kerala (1266-67 a. d.), 
258. Eavi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal of Kerala (1299), 259. Sri 
Vira Udaya Martanda Varma Tiruvadiyar (1316), 259. Adoption of 
TWO females from the Kolathunad family (1305) BY Aditya Varma, 
260. Their installation as the Attungal Mutha Tampuran and the 
Attungal Elaya Tampuran, 260. Extent of Travancore (c. 1300 a. d.), 
260. Nanjanad, 260 — Its ancient history, 260 — The Korava chiefs, 261 — 
The extermination of this family, 263— The Mudaliyar rulers, 263. 
Aditya Varma Tiruvadi (1333), 263. Sri Vira Eama Udaya Martanda 
Varma of Venad (1336-1342), 263. Sri Vira Kerala Varma Tiruvadi 
(1344), 264. Sri Vira Martanda Varma III. (1362-65), 264. The Eule 
of Parakrama Pandya in Nanjanad (1373-1386), 265. Sarvanganatha 
Aditya Varma II. perhaps a Sub-king of Martanda Varma, 265. 
Sri Vira Eavi Varma the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur (1383), 
265 — The Subjugation of Nanjanad, 266. Sri Vira Ejbrala Martanda 
Varma of Kilapperur and Martanda Varma the Senior Tiruvadi 
OF Tiruppapur (1412), 266. Chbra Udaya Martanda Varma (d. 1444), 
267 — Criticism upon Shungoony Menon's account of this king, 267. Ac- 
counts OP Travellers, 267— A1 Idrisi, 267— Al Kazwini (1263-1276), 
268— Marco Polo (1293), 268:— His account of Quilon,269; Of Comorin, 
269 ; Of Melibar, 270— Friar Jordanus of Severac (1324), 270— Friar 
Odoric, 270— Ibn Batuta (1324-25), 271 :— His description of Quilon, 271 ; 
Belations between Quilon and China at the time, 271 ; His description 
of Malabar, 272— Marignolli of Florence (1347), 273. 

pp. 251—273. 

Part III (1400— 1600 a. d.) 
State of South India, page 273. Internal History, 275— Sri Vira 
Bavi Ravi Varma the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur (1416-1417), 276— 
Sri Vira Rama Martanda Varma Kulasekhara (c. 1450), 276— Chempaka 

VoIk I.] Table of Contents. xxi 

iMit^a Varma, {c. 1450) 276— Kulasekhara Nanibirattiyav (c. 14C8), 
277— Sri Vira Eama Varma of Jayasimhanacl {c. 14(38), 277—Sri Vira 
Kodai Aditya Varma of Kilapperur (c. 1478), 277— Sri Vira Eavi Kavi 
Varma (1479-1512), 278— Aditya Varma and Udaya Martaiida Varma 
(c.XiODX 278— Their Co-regents Jayasimha Deva II. (1480) and Sakala 
Kala Martanda Varma (1495), 278— Jayasimhadeva's torn- to South Tra- 
yancore ai;id his giving concessions to the inhabitants of Parasurama 
Perunteru, 279. Accounts of Tra^^llebs for the Period, 280 — 
Mahuan's account of the Port of Cochin, 280 — Nicolo Conti, 280 — 
Abd-er-Bazzak (1442), 281. The Portuguese in Malabar and Travan- 
CORE, 281 — First Portuguese Expedition to India under Vasco da Gama, 
282 — Second Expedition under Cabral, 282 — Thii-d Expedition under 
Vasco da Gama, 283 — Gama's departm-e to Portugal, 283 — Da Gama 
succeeded by Albuquerque (1508), 284 — Albuquerque lands at Quilon, 284 — 
Eupoli's account of the Portuguese at Quilon, 284 — Albuquerque esta- 
blishes a commercial depot and factory at Quilon, 285 — Jealousy of the 
Moors, 285 — King of Quilon's constancy against the machinations of the 
2amorin, 286 — Albuquerque recalled, 286 — Almeyda and Quilon, 286 — 
Factory and fort at Quilon, 288 — Siege of the Quilon Fort, 289. State 


di Varthema's account of Malabar (1505), 290 — Duarte Bai'bosa's account 
of Malabar and Travancore (1514), 291. Historic narrative resumed, 
294 — Aditya Vajrma succeeded by his brother Bhutala Vira Sri Vira 
Udaya Martanda Varma (1535), 295 — Bhutala Vira Sri Vira Ravi Varma, 
296 — Sri Vira Kama Martanda Varma of Tiruppapur and Siraivoy, a 
Co-regent of Bhutala Vira Udaya Martanda Varma, 296 — Bhutala Vira 
Kerala Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Jayasimhanad {c. 1544), 297 — 
Advent of Francis Xavier (1543), 297 — The invasion of Travancore by 
the Badagas, 297 — The Badagas identified with the officers and soldiers of 
Vittala, a Prince of Vijayanagar King of Madura (1547-1558), 297 — 
Travancore saved from the invasion by Xavier's intervention, 298-— The 
Portuguese depredations in Travancore, 298 — A compromise effected 
between Rama Varma the King of Travancore and Vittala, 299— 
Tala or Tovala, 299 — Internal dissensions between the Senior Tiruvadis 
of ffiraivqy «id Jayasimhanad, 299 — Sri Vira Unni Kerala Varma of Java- 
aizahanad King of Venad (1559-1561), 300— His Co-regent Sri Vira 
Aditya Varma (1569-1565), 300 — Sri Vira Udaya Martanda Varma of Jaya- 
jajmhanad King of Travancore (1567-1587), 300 — A war between the Portu- 
^e8e#«dtherQueenof Malabar (1571), 300— King Ra\'i Varma (1578) a 

xxii Table of Contents. L V^^- I* 

regent of Sri Vira Udaya Martanda Varma, 300— Sri Vira Ravi Ravi 
Vavma of Jayasimhanad (1595-1607), 801. pp. 273—301. 

Pabt IV (1607-1729). 

Sri Vira Unni Kerala Varma, (1612-1628) page, 801. Sri Vira 
Ravi Varma (1620-1623) probably a co-regent of Unni Kerala 
Varma, 302. Gift of land made by Muthu Virappa Nayak to the 
Bhagavati temple at Cape Comortn, 302. Sri Vira Ravi Varma op 
TiRUPPAPUR King of Venad (1628-47), 302. Unni Kerala Vabma 
(1682-50), 802. Vizhinjam given away to the English East India 
Company (1644), 302. Ad\^nt of Tirumala Nayak, 802. The Yogak- 


CORE (1664 A. D.), 308. Umayamma Rani (1678-1684), 310.— The Ettu- 
vittil Pillamars, 311 — A Mahomedan invasion, 312 — Kerala Varma of 
Kottayam, 313— The Dutch, 314— The English, 314. Ravi Varma (1684- 
1728), 314 — Relations between Madura and Travancore — Nanjanad, 
316 — Raids in Nanjanad by the Nayak forces, 316 — Extent of Nanja- 
nad about 1694, 316 — Document giving evidence to the political and 
social condition of Nanjanad at the time, 317 — Travancore King pays 
tribute to the Madura Nayak, 318 — Annihilation of a Madura army, 318 — 
Another invasion of Travancore, 318 — Nanjanad bearing the brunt of the 
attacks, 319 — Revolt of the Nanjanadians (1702), 319 — Their meetings, 319 
— Resolutions passed at these meetings, 819 — General remarks on the 
Nanjanad raids, 323. Unni Kerala Varma (1718-1724), 324— Murder 
of the English factors, 324. Rama Varma (1724-28), 327. Form of 
Government, 329. State of the Country and Chief Events, 330. 
The Neighbouring Kingdoms, 331. The Foreign Powers, 831. 

pp. 301—332. 
Genealogical Tree of the Travancore Royal House, page 333. 
Section C. Modern History. 

Martanda Varma (1729-1758), page 333 — Accession to the throne, 
333 — Reorganisation of the Financial Department, 334 — The Tampi In- 
surrection, 334 — The Ettuvittil Pillamars, 336 — Ministerial changes, 338 — 
Amalgamation of Travancore with Attungal, 338 — Extension of territ- 
ory : — First conquest of Quilon, 338 — War with Kayangulam, 339 — Ela- 
yadathu Swarupam, 340 — Kayangulam war continued — Dutch inter- 
ference, 340 — Annexation of Elayadathu Swarupam, 341 — The Dutch War, 
342 — Battle of Quilon, 343— Treaty of Mannar, 344 — Annexation of Quilon, 

Vol. I. ] Table op Contents. xxiii 

344 — Annexation of Kayangulam, 344 — Conquest of Ampalapuzha, 345 — 
The Ihitch Peace Conferences, 347— Treaty of Mavelikara, 348— The 
French, 350 — Conquest of Minor States, 850 — Final overthrow of the tri- 
umvirate and the Battle of Poracad, 351 — Annexation of Karappuram, 352 — 
The Northern insurrection, 352 — The attack of the Zamorin, 353 — Peace 
of Mavehkara, 353 — Disturbances in the eastern parts of Travancore, 354 — 
Battle of Calacaud, 354 — The interference of the English, 355 — Consolida- 
tion and Reform, 358: — Military, 358; Revenue administration, 359; State 
expenditure, 360; Public works, 360 — State ceremonies, 361 — A local 
knighthood, 361 — Dedication of Travancore to Sri Padmanabhaswamy, 
362 — Adoption, 363 — Death of Rama lyen Dalawa, 363 — Rama Iyen*s pri- 
vate life and anecdotes, 363 — Demise of the Maharajah, 366 — Foreign 
policy, 367. pp. 333—368. 

Rama Vakma (1758-1798), page 369 — His personal character, 369 — 
Martanda Pillai Dalawa, 370 — Treaty with Cochin, 370 — The Travancore 
Lines — The Zamorin repulsed, 371 — Reforms, 373 — Shencottah, 373 — 
Relations with the Nawab of Arcot and the Enghsh, 373 — The dispute 
about the Districts of Calacaud, 375 — The Enghsh, 379 — First invasion of 
Hyder AJi, 380 — The new ministry, 382 — Second Invasion of Hyder Ali, 
382 — Death of De Lannoy, 384 — The Maharajah's pilgrimage to Rames- 
waram, 384 — Domestic Events, 385 — Kesava Das, 385 — The Pope's 
message, 387 — Tippu's schemes againstJTravancore, 388 — The new Enghsh 
alliance, 389 — Purchase of Ayacotta and Cranganore from the Dutch, 390 — 
Tippu's demands, 393 — Tippu's attack on the hnes — His defeat, 394— 
The attitude of the Madi*as Government, 396 — Tippu enters Travancore, 
397 — The Enghsh declare war against Tippu, 398 — Tippu retreats, 398 — 
Treaty of Seringapatam, 399 — Settlement of Malabar, 400 — The expenses 
of the war, 400 — The treaty of 1795, 401 — Internal reforms, 404 — Rajah 
Eesava Das, 407 — Demise of the Maharajah, 407 — Character and anec- 
dotes, 408 — Sir Madava Row's review of the reign, 410 — Smnmary, 413. 

pp. 369—416. 

Bala Rama Varma (1798-1810) — Accession, page 417 — Maharajah's 
favourites, 417 — Kesava Das's retirement and death, 417 — Sankaran Nam- 
buri appointed Dewan, 418 — The end of the ministry, 419 — Velu Tampi be- 
comes Dalawa, 420 — His methods of Government, 421 — Intrigues against 
Velu Tampi, 422 — Major Macaulay and the Maharajah, 423 — The mutiny of 
the Nayar troops, 423 — Modification ol' the subsidiary arrangements, 424 — 
Treaty of 1805. 425 — Financial Crisis, 42.S-\Vln Tampi *s position, 429 — 


Table of Contents. [Voiiiil. 

Cochin affairs at the period, 482 — Velu Tampi's insurrection, 433 — Vela 
Tampi's Proclamation, 484 — Effects of the Proclamation, 436 — Attack on 
the Subsidiary force at Quilon, 488 — Attack on Cochin— Wholesale murde* 
of Europeans, 488— 1'he rebeUion quelled, 440— Anecdote of Velu Tampi^s 
flight, 441 — His personal character, 442 — His tragical end, 445 — Lord 
Minto's minute, 44(3 — A word of appreciation about Velu Tampi, 447 — 
"Wilson's opinion, 447 — Oommini Tampi Dewan, 4-48 — Domestic events, 
449 — Colonel Munro llesident, 449 — Demise of the Maharajah, 460 — Conj- 
clusion, 454. pp. 417 — 454. 

GouriLakshmiBayi (1811-1815), page 455 — Accession, 455 — Colonel 
Munro Dewan, 458 — Keforms, 4()0: — Judicial, 461 ; llevenue and Finance,. 
462; Devaswams, 464 ; Public Works, 464; Military, 465 ; Trade and io- 
dustries, 465 ; Social, 465 — Birth of the Princes, 466 — Colonel Munro 
resigns his Dewanship, 466 — Demise of the Kani, 469. 

pp. 455—470. 

GouRi Parvathi ]^ayi (1815 — 1829), page 471 — Accession, 471 — 
Ministerial clianges, 471 — lleddy Kow Dewan, 47*2 — Colonel Slunro's 
retirement, 472 — Kcddy Eow and Vencata Row, 474 — Marriage 
of Princess Kugmini Bayi, 474 — lieddy Row resigns, 474 — Vencata 
Row becomes Dewan, 474 — Missionary enterprise, 475 — Education of the 
Princes, 476 — The Nayar Brigade, 477 — Vencata Row's administration, 
478 — Other events of tlie reign, 479 — Regency closed and Rama Varma 
crowned, 480. pp. 471—481. 

Rama Varma (Sicati Tirunal, 1829 — 1847), page 482 — Accession, 
482 — Birth, character and education, 482 — The new Dewan, 483 — Subba 
Row's Administration, 484 — Reduction of the subsidiary force, 4M — 
The first Gubernatorial visit to Travancore, 485 — Reforms, 486 : — Military 
and Judicial, 486 ; The First Code of Regulations, 487 ; AboHtionof minor 
Duties, 488 ; Census of 1836, 488 ; The opening of an English School, 
488; The Trivandi'um Observatory, 488; Charity Hospital, 489; The 
Engineering Department, 489; Other reforms, 489 — Resignation of 
Dewan Subba Row, 490 — P]x-Dewan Vancata Row, 490 — Ex-Dewan 
Subba Row again, 490 — The Maharajah and General CuUen, 491 — 
Reddy Row Dewan again, 493 — The Maharajah leads a religious life, 497^- 
Reddy Row resigns, 498 — Krishna Row re-appointed, 499 — Domestic 
events, 499 — Europeans and Eurasians, 499 — Demise of the Mahai-ajafr, 
500— Character, 500. pp. 482—508. 

MJkBBSAiHDx. Yabma {Uttram Tirunal, 1847 — 1860), page 504 — Accesr 
SBon, 504 — Eaoly education and attainments, 504 — Srinivasa Bow's adh 
iiyaistratioar 506 — The new Dewan, 506 — Madava Bow appointed tutor, 
508 — ^AmelioEaition of slaves^ 508 — The London Exhibition of 1851, 
SOQ^^Tinnevelly-TravaBcore boundary, 510 — Financial strain — Demise 
ol Parvatiu Bayi, 511 — Administra/tive divisions, 511 — Attacks on 
the Administration, 512 — Miscellaneous items, 516 — Tribute to the Nawabs 
517 — The Pepper monopoly, 518 — Adoption, 520 — Death of Dewan 
Krishna Bow, 621 — Madava^Bow appointed Dewan, 523 — Visit of Lord 
Harris, 524 — Shanar converts and ffindus, — Disturbances in South 
Travancore, 525 — Betirement and death of General CuUen, 531 — Mr. 
Maltby, Besident, 534 — Other events, 535 — Demise of the Maharajah, 535 
—Personal traits, 536. pp. 504—537. 

Bama Varma (Ayilliam TiruiiaU 1860-1880), page 538 — Accession, 
538 — Education and character, 538 — The famine of 1036 m. e. — 
Financial state of the country, 539 — Fiscal reforms — AboUtion of the 
monopohes, 540 — Freedom of interportal trade, 541 — Judicial reforms, 543 
— Other reforms, 544 — Subsequent progress, 548 — Important political 
events, 550: — Sunnud of Adoption, 550 ; Visit of the Governor of Madras, 
550 ; The Maharajah's first visit to Madras, 553 ; Visit of the Cochin 
Bajah, 553 ; Title of Maharajah, 553; The Seringapatam medal, 554 ; His 
Highness' appointment as g. c. s. i. and visit to Madras, 554 ; Visit of 
Lord and Lady Napier, 555 ; Palliport, 556 ; His Highness* third visit to 
Madras, 556— Betirement of Sir Madava Bow, 556 — Career of Sir Madava 
Bow, K. c. s. I., 559 — Sashiah Sastri — Dewan, 568 — Beforms, 569 
— Criminal jurisdiction over European British subjects, 572 — 
Important political events, 576 — The Imperial Durbar and the presenta- 
tion of the Imperial Banner (1^11), 577 — Sashiah Sastri retires, 578 — 
Career of Sir A. Sashiah Sastri, k. c. s. l, 578 — Nanoo Pillai, Dewan, 586 — 
Domestic events, 585 — Demise of the Maharajah, 585. 

pp. 538—686. 

BamaSVarma {VisakJiam Tirunal, 1880 — 1885), page 587 — Accession, 
587, Attainments and eai-ly career, 588 — Dewan Nanoo Pillai retired, 
590— Career of N. Nanoo Pillai, 590 — The new Dewan, 594 — Beforms, 
594 — Travancore-Cochin boundary, 597 — Chief poUtical events, 598 — 
The Maharajah's personal traits, 699 — The Maharajah's demise, 600. 

pp. 587—603. 

Sir Bama Varma {Mulam Tirunal), page 604 — Accession, 604 — Early 

xxti Table op Contents. [Vol. 1. 

studies, 604 — Eetirement of Dewan Rainiengar, 608 — Caoreer of V. 
Ramiengar, c. s. i., 609 — T. Eama Row, Dewan, 613 — Chief events, 613 
Chief reforms, 616 — Career of T. Rama Row, c. i. b., 623 — S. Shungra- 
Boobyer Dewan, 628 — Chief events, 628 — Chief reforms, 631 — Career of 
Shungrasoobyer, c. i. e., 633 — Mr. K. Krishnaswamy Rao, Dewan, 636 — 
Chief events, 636 — Progress, 640 — Retirement of Mr. K. Krishnaswamy 
Rao, 642— Career of Mr. K. Krishnaswamy Rao, c. i. E., 643 — Mr. V. P. 
Madhava Rao, Dewan, 644 — Summary of results, 644. 

. pp. 604—648. 




Table showing the approximate distribution of surface drawn 

up by Lieuts. Ward and Conner ... ... 4 


Table I, showing the mean data of the meteorological ele- 
ments for the twelve months of the year ... 57 

Table II, giving means for the four seasons corresponding to 

the data of Table I ... ... ... 58 

Table III, giving the diurnal oscillation of temperature at 
Trivandrum during tlie four seasons and for the whole 
year ... ... ... ... ... 60 

Table IV, giving data of chief maximum and minimiun epochs 

of the variation of temperature during the year ... 61 

Table V, giving the mean diurnal range of temperatm-e for the 

12 months and for the year ... ... ... 61 

Table VI, giving the mean actual daily and monthly tem- 
peratures at Trivandrum derived from the series of 
observations taken during the period 1866-1864 ... 62 

Table VII, giving the mean hourly temperatures for each 

month and for the whole year ... ... 63 

Table VIII, giving the data for the diurnal variation of the 
amount of vapour present in the air and also for the 
diurnal variation of humidity for each of the four 
seasons of the year and the average for the year in 
Trivandrum ... ... ... ... 64 

Table IX, giving the mean monthly and annual rainfall at 

36 stations in Travancore ... ... ... 68 

xxviii Tabular Statements. [Vol.1. 



1. Statement showing the Travancore inscriptions arranged 

according to their age ... ... ... 176 

2. Statement showing the inscriptions arranged according to 

the taluqs in which they occur ... ... 176 

8. StatemeiQt showing the inscriptions arranged aococding 

to their character ... ... ... 177 

4. Statement showing the inscriptions arranged according 

to their language ... ... ... ... 177 

5. Statement showing the inscriptions arranged according to 

the materials on which they are inscribed ... 178 

G. Statement showing the inscriptions arrajiged according to 

their subject-matter ... ... ... 178 

7. Statement showing the inscriptions arranged according to 

the donors ... ... ... ... 179 

8. Statement showing the inscriptions arranged according to 

the donees ... ... ... ... 179 


Vol. T. 



H. H. The Present Maharajah, Sir Kama Varma (iVi^Zawi 
Tirunal), (;. c. s. i., g. c. i. e. Ascended the Musnud 

lUth August 1885 a. d. ... ... Frontispiece. 

Tiiavally Palace, Quilon ... ... ... 7 

The Minachil Eiver view ... ... ... 18 

Triparappu Falls ... ... ... ... 21 

Entrance into the Kadinangulam Lake from the Canal ... 22 

Sea and Temple view at Cape Comorin ... ... 31 

Forest view at Pallode ... ... ... 70 

Elephant at bath in the Karamana Ivivcr ... ... 124 

Plate A. Text (in Vatteluttu) ... ... ... 182 

Do. (iji current Tamil) ... ... ... 182 

Do. (l^jnglish translation) ... ... ... 182 

Plate IJ. Text (in Vatteluttu) ... ... ... 183 

Do. (in current Tamil) ... ... ... 183 

Do. (English translation) ... ... ... 184 

Plate C. Text (in Koleluttu or Malaiyamai) ... ... 185 

Do. (in current Tamil) ... ... ... 185 

Do. (JMiglish translation) ... ... ... 185 

Plate D. Text (in Kolehittu) ... ... ... 185 

Do. (in cm-rent Tamil) ... ... ... 185 

Do. (English translation) ... ... ... 185 

Plate E. Text (in old Tamil) ... ... ... 187 

Do. (in current Tamil) ... ... ... 187 

Do. (English translation) ... ... ... 191 

Plan of the Udayagiri Fort ... ... ... 201 

Do. Padmanabhapuram Fort ... ... 202 

Po. Vattakottfi^ Fort ... ... ... 203 

XXX. List of Diaoij.^ms, Ti axes anj) Illistjutions. [Vol. 11. 

Sri Padmanabliaswamy's Temple, Trivaudrimi ... 405 

Five Maharajahs of Modern History — in one group ... 48*2 

Golden Car Procession, Trivandiiim ... ... 501 

Lakshnii Bayi, c. i., Late Senior Rani, and Parvathi 

Bay i, Late Junior Kani ... ... ... 5*20 

Statue of Rajah Sir T. Madava Row, k. c. s. i. ... 556 

Kapier Museum, Trivandrum ... ... ... 571 

Residency Garden-party Group, Trivandrum ... ... G40 


Travancore State Manual. 

-«>• -•^-^ae- -»•—«►———— - 


Physical Description. 

Section A. Physical Featui^es. 

" Were there, below, a spot of holy ground 
Where from distress a refuge might be found, 
And solitu<le i)ropnre the soul for heaven ; 
Sure, nature's God that spot to iran had given, 
Where falls the ]mrple morning far and wide 
In flukeft of light upon the mountain side; 
Where with loud voice the power of water shakes 
The leafy wood, or sleeps in quiet lakes." 


Name of the Country.— This ancient kingdom of Travancore 
forms the southern-most portion of the west coast of India. The 
country from Gokamam to Cape Comorin has been known by different 
names at diflferent times, such as, Malayalam, Parasurama-kshetram, 
Karma-bhumi, Cheram, Keralam, Malanad, Malavaram and Malabar. 
This tract of land, according to the Bhoogola Piirana — a Sanskrit work 
on the ancient geogi-aphy of the Hindus — was 100 yojanas* long and 10 
yojanas broad. 

The word * Malayalam * is its Tamil name and signifies ' mala * (hill) 
and 'azham* (depth) i. e., the hill and dale country, or the land at the foot 
of the mountains. 

The word * Parasurama-kshetram ' is derived from the tradition that 
Parasurama, the great Brahmin sage + of the race of Bhrigii, reclaimed 
this land from the sea. 

The name * Karma-bhumi ' signifies that the si)iritual salvation of the 
inhabitants of this land depends entirely on good actions, as contrasted 
with the East Coast, or * Gnana-bhumi * otherwise * Punnya-bhumi \ 

• 1 yojana is equal to ten miles, 
t See Ancient Histoi^', infra. 

2 Travancoke Manual. [Chap. 

where a man obtains salvation by mere birth irrespective of his actions, 
as the land itself is said to be consecrated ground. So far is this believed 
in, that an orthodox Brahmin of the East Coast would not wish to die in 
Keralam, lest he be born an ass in the next birth. 

* Keralam' is the name by wliich the country was known from the earli- 
est times and one by which the native of the soil always loves to designate 
it. The word is supposed to have been derived from * Keram * a contrac- 
tion of * Nalikeram ', the Sanskrit name for cocoanut, as this part of India 
abounds with cocoanut palms. Another theory is that the country takes 
its name from * Cheraman Keralan *, a sovereign among the Perumals, 
who, raised to sway by the people's will, distinguished his government by 
a course of wisdom, moderation and benevolence. Both the derivations 
are however improbable as the country had its name long before the ad- 
vent of this legendary Perumal, or the introduction of the cocoanut palm 
on this coast. 

Albcruni seems to have been the first to call the country * Mala- 
bar/ which is an Arabic corruption from Mala (Vernacular) mountain 
and Vara (Sanskrit) slope. Dr. Robertson, in his * Historical disquisi- 
tion concerning Ancient India', derives it from the word *Mair, the 
name of a port (mentioned by Kosmos Indikopleustes), and says that 
the word means * country of pepper'. 

Fra Bartolomeo, who resided for a long time in Travancore, says 
that the country was called ' Malai-nadu ' — the land of hills, which was 
subsequently corrupted into ' Mala-varom ' or * Malabar '. Other forms 
of the word are ; Melibar, Manibar, Molibar, Malibar, Minibar, Mina- 
bar, Melibaria. 

* Travancore ' is the abbreviated English form of * Tiru-Vithan-Kodu', 
once the capital of the kingdom and the residence of the court, but now 
a petty village 80 miles to the south-east of Trivandrum. Tiru-Vithan- 
Ivodu is said to be a corruption of * Sri-Vazhum-Kodu', i. e., a place 
where the Goddess of Prosperity dwells. 

Travancore is also known by the names of * Venad', * Vanchi-De- 
sam' and * Tiru-Adi-Dcsam*. Venad is a corruption of *Vanavanad' 
(the land of the celestials). Vanchi-Desam 'means either the land of 
treasure or the land of bamboos. Tiru-Adi-Desam is probably derived 
from * Tiru Adikal ', one of the titles of Chera kings. * Tiru Adi ' 
means * holy feet ' or * the Royal feet ' and represents the usual form 
in which tlie kings of the land were addressed. Even now the vema- 

I.] Physical Featuues. 3 

cular form of addressing the king is *Adiyen Tripi)atloni sevikkunnu' 
meaning * I, a humble slave, serve thy royal feet '. 

' Malankarai ' is another name used exclusively by tlio Syiiaii C'liri.s- 
tians ; the Syrian Metropolitan still calls himself ' The Miilankanii 
Met ran. ' 

Geographical position.— The Travancore State is situated at tlie 
south-western extremity of India, between 8° 4' and 1 0^ 2*2' Nortli Lati- 
tude and 76"^ 14' and 77° 38' East Longitude. It is a long narrow 
strip of territory, measuring 174 miles in length and from 30 to 75 miles 
in breadth, lying between the Malabar Coast and the Western Ghauts 
which run almost parallel with the Western Coast of India and which 
divide Travancore from the British Districts of Tinnevelly and Madura. 

Boundaries. — Travancore i.i bounded on the nortli by the Cochin 
State and the Coimbatore District, on the east by the range of Ghauts 
which forms a natural barrier between it and the districts of Tinnevelly, 
Madura and Coimbatore, on the south by the Indian OceaTi, and on the 
west by the Arabian Sea and by portions of Cochin running down in a 
narrow strip between Travancore and the sea. 

Shape and area. — Its shape is triangular with the apex towards 
the south, its two sides running in a north-westerly direction. It is of 
an unequal breadth gradually diminishing from the nortli and converging 
to a point at its southern extremity. The irregularity of its breadth offers 
an average width of about 40 miles inland. A narrow strip of land be- 
longing to the State of Cochin makes a deep indentation on the north- 
west angle and destroys the contiguity and compactness of its shape. 

The total area of Travancore is 7091 square miles. Compared with the 
adjoining British Districts, it is about four-fifths of Madura, nine-tenths of 
Coimbatore, one and one-fourth of Malabar and one and one-thijd 
of Tinnevelly. Compared with other Native States, Travancore is about 
one-twelfth the size of Hyderabad, one-fourth of Mysore, seven-eighths 
of Baroda, two-sevenths of Gwalior, more than 5 times the size of Cochin, 
and G times tliat of Pudukotta. It is smaller than the Principality of 
Wales by 279 square miles and bears to England and Wales together, 
the proportion of 1 to 8. 

Lieuts. Ward and Conner estimated the area to be G731 square miles. 
But they did not include the Anchanad valley togetlier with a large portion 
of the High Ranges aggregating about 230 square miles, the Idiyara valloy 
and a portion of the forest near the Alvarkurichi gap. 

4 Ti^vAVAKcoRK Manual. [ ChAp. 

The following table conveying an approximate distribution of surface 
was drawn up between 181G and 1820 by Lieuts. Ward and Conner :— 



741 square 









Slopes available for temporary 
cultivation ol rice S:c. 

Aieca-nut and Cocoanut topes 
chiefly along the coast. 

Handy extent covered with 
Palmyra. / 

Lakes, rivers, tanks S:c. 

Site occupied by buildings. 

Pasturage and superficies occu-) 
pied by low chains of hills, i 

Hills and forests. 

Total area. 6,730J 

From the above table, it will be seen that about two-thirds only remain 
ai)i)licable to the purpose of profitable cultivation or pasturage, the whole 
cultivation of Travancore being generally confined to a contracted strip 
along the coast, narrower in the southern parts, but expanding as it ap- 
proaches northwards. 

General features. — The general aspect of the country is tlius des- 
cribed by Ward and Conner * : — 

*♦ The face of the countiy presents considerable divei*sity, althougli its general 
character, except the southern parts, is extremely abrupt and mountainous. 
The coast, and for a short distance along the borders of the lake, is generally 
flat ; retreating from it the surface immediately becomes unequal, roughening 
into slopes which gradually combine and swell into the mountainous amphi- 
theatre that hoimds it on the east, where it falls precipitately, but terminates less 
abruptly on the south. The collected villages, waving plains, palmyra topes and 
extensive cultivation of Nunjanaad, resemble in ever}' particulai- the neighbouring 
province of Tinnevelly, except that it in no measure partakes of its comparatively 
arid sterility. Approaching northward, this fertile plain is succeeded by the 
woody and rugged surface of the genuine Malayalim ; some few champaign 
tracts enclosed within this ocean of forest relieve the uniformity of this sylvan 
scene. The extent lining the coast for its whole length presents a fertility so 
near the sea that imparts a peculiar character to the landscape. This rich and 
variegated tract is flanked by a mountainous barrier and is finally contrasted with 
the sombre magnificence and desolate solitude of those wilds of which the ele- 
phant seejis the natural master ; and though the landscape may be too much 
made up of this wild scenerj- , it boasts many striking localities and peculiar 
beauties, if not of the sublime, at least romantic and pictmresque kinds. The eye 
i > arrested by the wild rocky precipitous acclivities and fantastic forms assumed 

* Memoir of t)ic Surve)' of Truvuncore oud Cocliiu« 

I.] Physical Features. 5 

by the mountain in the more southern parts, but proceeding north the bold and 
elevated contour of this Alpine tract is less shai'ply defined ; a few rugged cUffs 
and spiry points or conical summits alone breaking through the sameness of its 
rounded and sombre outline. This appenine dissolves into clustering hills and 
romantic inequalities, at whose feet wind innumerable valleys, presenting (parti- 
cularly in the middle parts) the most delightful landscapes, whose natural 
l^eauties ai*e embellished and diversified by the prospect of Churches and Pagodas. 
Indeed the endless succession of houses and gardens scattered in picturesque 
disorder over the face of the countr}-, gives it entirely a different appearance from 
the other coast, the nudity of whose plains is unfavourably contrasted with the 
robe of florid and exuberant vegetation that for a great part of the year clothes 
Malayalim. The Areca and Cocoanut evei'y where fringe those picturesque and 
sequestered glens which gradually expand into the extensive plantations and 
cultivated lands that skirt the sea and lake. This space is enlivened and ferti- 
lised by innumerable rivers and pastoral streams, whose borders are crowned 
with groves and cultivation that everywhere following their winding course, 
present a unique, interesting and charming scenery, infinitely more diversified 
than most other parts of the Peninsula and one that would indicate abundance. 
This is especially the case in Kootanaad ; the watery flatness of this fertile fen is 
relieved by the gardens and habitations so thickly strewn over its surface which 
exhibits a network of rivers meandering through the verdure they create." 

Travancore is certainly one of the most picturesque portions of India. 
It has been the dream of poets, the delight and admiration of every tra- 
veller. Lord Curzon, the Viceroy, said : — 

" Since I have been in India I have had a great desire to visit the State of Tra* 
vancore. I have for many years heard so nmch of its exuberant natural beau* 
ties, its old-world simplicity, and its Arcadian charm. Who would not be fascina- 
ted by such a spectacle ? Here nature has spent upon the land her richest 
bounties ; the sun fails not by day, the rain falls in due season, drought is practi- 
cally unknown, and an eternal summer gilds the scene. Where the land is 
capable of culture, there is no denser population ; where it is occupied by jungles 
or backwater or lagoon, there is no more fairy landscape ". 

Here is another description founded upon closer personal acquaint- 
ance from the pen of that versatile writer, Mr. J. D. Rees I. C. S., C. I. E., 
a fonner British Resident in Travancore and Cochin : — 

** It would be a hopeless task to attempt to describe the scenery of the Madras 
Presidency, which to the east of the ghauts has one, and to the west another 

character, but which nowhere is without a beauty of its own 

But the districts more completely within the sphere of the influence of the 
south-west monsoon have a wholly different character. The rolhng downs of 
the Nilgiris possess one of the finest climates in the world for the Anglo-Saxon, 
and nowhere is the scenery more magnificent than upon its western borders, 
where the happy sportsman can sit in a blushing rhododendron as big as an 
English oak, the moss and lichens of whose branches are pranked with orchids, 
and look down a sheer cliff of giddy height, the first shelf of primeval forest 
and on to another and another by gradual descents from a height of 8,000 feet, 
till the cocoanut gardens of the storied Malabar Coast arc seen between the last 
step and the yellow sands and white foaming breakers, beyond which the blue 
Arabian Sea sparkles and shimmers in the sunlight, till the orb of day descends, 

6 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

a ])loo(l red l)all, into its distant waters. What mountain drive equals the 
Coonoor jf^haut, now flashed and scanned somewhat by a none the less useful 
railway, upon whose forest-clad slopes white fleecy clouds gently lie, while the 
gigantic green feathers of the bam])oos lightly w^ave, and the most beautiful of 
all butterflies flit around the traveller as he passes through tree ferns and 
plantains, looking up at the towering masses of rugged rocks, and the purple 
outline of the mountains. 

"Below in Malabar, Travancore and Cochin, the beauties of the country defy 
description, and the forests are, of all places in this world, surely the most 
fascinating in which to dwell. You pass through shady aisles, which admit the 
sunshine by infrequent shafts, Init breathe everywhere its warmth and joy, and 
are ever reminded of the late Laureate's happy iilcaic experiment, 

Me r<atlicr all that bowory loneliiios;-. 
The brooks of Eden inazily luurniuriiig, 
And bloom profuse and cedar arches. 

" Tall pillar trees, with green Corinthian capitals, support the roof, festooned 
with vines and creeping plants, and often blooming with red, white, and purple 
flowers, the floor is covered with an undergrowth of tree ferns and flowering 
shrubs, above monkeys and squirrels leap from tree to tree, wood-pigeons coo, 
wood-peckers tap the tree trunks, and cicadaaj whirr and whistle, while now and 
again a startled spotted deer jumps up and disappears, or the loud crack of 
branches betokens the proximity of an elephant taking his meal, the picture ot 
lazy and lordly ease. 

*• This spirit pervades the atmosphere. Nature, in her most bounteous and 
reproductive aspects, scatters her treasures around with such a lavish hand, that 
it speaks well for an industrious and estimable population, that, in its case, the 
worship of the beautiful has never ended, as some say it always does, in orgies. 
None the less in the forests the life of those least sensitive to the influence of 
the l^eautiful can be nothing less than one long botanical debauch in *valleys 
low% where the mild whispers use of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing 
brooks', teinpered by occasional encounters, wherein all the sterner attributes of 
humanity are suddenly brought into play, and the man may have to flght with 
the beast, for the life, which, a few minutes before, ran 'in soft luxurious flow*. 
The contingency, ever present for the sportsman, of this shai'p and sudden 
contrast, adds a thousandfold to the fascination of what surely is the happiest 
possible hfe". 

I may be permitted to quote here, from one of my earlier Census 

Reports*, the following description of one of the highest Peaks on tho 

Ghauts :— 

" What strikes a stranger most in Travancore is the eminently picturesque 
character of its natural features. The view of the country from one of our 
hill-tops on the Western Ghauts is worth getting at even at the cost of a 
liundred miles journey. Nature is then seen at its best. Going up an elevation 
of four or Ave thousand feet above the sea to one of those bold and isolated 
heights open on all sides, the traveller is treated to an intellectual repast exceed- 
ing in grandeur all that poets or novelists have discovered in the revelr}' of 
nature itself. It is one continuous feast to the eye. On one side lie a series of 
mountains, rising in successive tiers till the highest peaks disappear in happy 
confusion with tiic white clouds of the East. On the other side is a vast rich 

* Kcport on the Cciiyiiy of TravuncoiVj tukcu in 1881 A. D. 




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1, ] Physical Features. 7 

undulating plain spread out in velvet green and covered with dense jungle not 
penetrated even by a Kawni's hut, the picturesque view extending over many 
square miles of territory and presenting scenes of indescribable beauty as far 
as the eye can reach ; there is something like a glut produced on the human eye- 
sight by the quantity and variety of beauty simultaneously presented to it. For 
a while, the traveller's eye rests on regions of magnificent primeval forest as 
old as Parasurama himself. Here the view^ is relieved by neat plots of coffee 
land upon which is seen the industrious hand of the mighty British adventiurer, 
a scene full of hfe and calhng to mind associations of lacs of plants and lacs of 
rupees, at one time the land of di'eams, but now often the grave of fortunes, 
Then anon is seen towering pre-eminently over all, the Agastiar Peak or the 
Mount Everest of our Ghauts, supposed to be the abode of pious Rishis or at 
any rate now of guileless birds and beasts and of untainted perennial waters. 
In one word, 'every corner and eveiy turning point opens out a panorama of 
inexpressible grandeui* '/' 

To which may be added another description of a sixty miles* journey 
across country from Quilon to Shencottah, from my Census Report of 
1891 :— 

" A rich picturesqueness of scenery diversified by hills and dales is the chief 
characteristic of Travancore. To the admiring student of nature it presents 
peculiar fascinations, on account of the variety and wealth of its natural 
beauty. If the untravelled reader will go along w^ith me, across country, 
say from the western ocean to the ghauts on the eastern frontier and thence 
descend into one of those trans-alpine villages which abound in the flat country 
of Pandi, he will have seen Travancore at its best. Say we start from one 
of the coast towns, a place of historic importance known at once as a port, 
a cantonment, a centre of trade and the head-quarters of a chief revenue officer. 
The stranger will be taken up with its broad- backed gardens into which the 
town is laid out, the soil of which is half sand, half laterite, the former thickly 
planted with the valuable cocoanut palm for which every available space is 
used up, thus showing an ancient agricultural occupancy; w^hile the remaining 
space is filled with W'ooded trees of all kinds, such as the mango, the jack, the 
anjili and the tamarind with the highly priced pepper vine i)arasitically clinging 
to them. This pretty town I am speaking of has a reef of rocks for its beach, 
which prevents its corrosion by the sea, thus helping the ryot to plant liis 
cocoanut trees so near the water's edge that the shadow^s fall on the beating surf, 
a phenomenon not met with in any other point of this coast. On the south is 
the beautiful bay known to the earliest mariners of Europe as affording a perfect 
natural protection to ships in the worst weather; and which, it is believed, might, 
under favourable conditions, be turned into one of the finest harbours in India. 
A little to the interior you have the beautiful lake scenery, so much admired by 
travellers from all parts of the world, affording unrivalled conveniences for travel- 
ling and traffic and adding beauty to its general appearance. There are many 
turns and bends to this lake, which specially attract the eye of the traveller. On 
one of those turns you have a magnificent mansion standing out )x)ldly into the 
lake, the waters of which reflect so w^ell its lofty column, its halls and rooms, its 
high balconies and well designed circular roof that the shadows on the water 
seem more charming than the reality. This mansion known as the Thavally 
Palace is very happily situated. The ground is an elevated table-land jut- 
ting out into the lake, which bounds it on three sides. The soil is of later- 
ite formation and the water is excellent both for drinking and bathing purposes. 
There are tw^o tanks in the garden and several wells, one of them a 

ft Travancore Manual. [Cha^. 

particularly large one within the *nalukettoo' itself. The place was an 
abandoned jungle years ago, and the credit of discovering and reclaiming it 
belongs to the present Dewan (Mr. T. Rama Row). The late Maharajah 
and his Royal brother visited Thavally often. So also did the present 
Maharajah as a Prince and several other members of the Royal family. So 
Thavally became a favourite resort with the Royal family, and during His late 
Highness' reign, the ground and property of Mr. Rama Row were purchased by 
the Sircar, and a magnificent mansion erected on it. The view from the 
palace tower or column is most magnificent. The peculiar combination of wood 
and water, of groves of tall palms and forests, of well-shaded jack and mango 
trees, with the blue line of distant mountains on the eastern horizon, give a 
charm to Thavally which can only be felt, not described. Another point of 
vantage in this lake scenery is the Residency, the oldest and the finest of the 
Residencies in the countr}-. I have heard no end of praises being heaped 
on this lovely spot. On occasions of State dinners the house is decorated 
and the gardens are tastefully illuminated, when it may well claim the 
encomium passed on it by one of om* late Governors that it was * Fairy Land '. 
The enterprising European has not been slow to avail himself of such natural 
facilities ; so he has with his usually feeen commercial instinct established milU 
and manufactories which, with their noisy machinery' and smoky chimneys, remind 
you of the veneering of a superior civilization over this otherwise quiet spot. 
A mile to the east is the European quarter of the town and the British canton- 
ment with their indispensable parade ground, church, mess-house and a club, and 
an ojen sea beach for their evenings to be enjoyed. Between, is the native part 
of the town with its thatched huts and busy bazaars containing a mixed popu- 
lation of Pandi Sudras, Nairs, Mahomedans, Jews, East Indians and fishermen. 
The town is dotted with numerous tanks and wells, an indispensable auxiliary 
to the comfort of the true Travancorean. It is also well suppUed with flat 
metalled roads, the very best, I think, of all the roads we have In the country. 
Travelling eastwards we pass the pretty grove of Elampalloorkavoo, the only 
cluster of huge trees In a large expanse of open country. This * kavoo * or grove 
is an interesting oasis in the open maidan, and I counted in it 129 trees of 17 
different kinds such as the belleri myrabolam, the momordicus charantia, the 
cinnamon, the cassia, the callicarpa lanata, the anjili, (the artocarpushirsuta), the 
echites scholaris, the strychnos nux vomica, the jack tree, the mango tree, the 
alangium decapitatum, the Kilimaram, the Vattathamara, the Vetti, the Edana 
and the Mottalu. They were the growi;h of ages and were an object of worship 
to the neighbouring population, who consider it sacrilegious to touch such trees 
with any knife or other piece of iron. Leaving this, we come upon a fine jungly 
station with a number of new clearings all round, and a wild mountain torrent 
running by its side the force of which, however, has been arrested by the recent 
bund-works of an enterprising company. The whole road is lined on both sides 
with fine avenue trees planted by an enthusiastic former administrator of the 
district and bearing testimony to his goodness and forethought. Proceeding 
further east, we reach Ottakkal, another distance of 10 miles. The whole region 
is one continuous forest, and is an abundant soiurce of inexhaustible wealth, the 
potentiality of which exceeds our most sanguine calculations. On both sides 
the road is barricaded by a tall tree fence. This is a phenomenon quite un- 
known in most parts of India, and but for our personal knowledge we should 
liave found it hard to believe it. The noonday sun scarcely penetrates the thick 
crust of green leaves, so rich is the vegetation. From Punaliu- to Camp Gorge 
the river runs nearly parallel to the road for most part of it, and I believe the 
natm-al stream served as a guide to the original engineer in laying it out. It is 
impossible to describe the beauties of the road or the river in this region ; they 
should l)e seen to be appreciated. The best description must beggar the reality, 

I. ] Physical FEATrRES. 

or as Mr. J. D. Rees "writes: — * Words fail me to describe the lovely scenery. 
Tall, upright standards of huge timber trees, palms of every kind, including the 
exquisitely graceful areca, tree ferns, creepers, ferns and flowers, all spring from 
a tangled undergrowth of iral reed. The pepper vine clings to the large timber 
trees, and ropes of rattan and giant branches hidden in creepers, combine to 

construct an ever varying but unending bower As you travel in the 

chequered shade, you would say that every reach of the road had been designed 
by nature, to show what wealth of vegetation can be presented at once to 
the astonished and dehghted eye.' After a night's halt in the wooden house at 
this lonely place (Ottakkal),you rise and see nothing but a dim daylight and a 
white hase all round. The tall trees and the mountains are all buried under 
this haze, so that one would suspect it was raining hard when it was only the 
morning dew. As the sun rises in the horizon, the mist disappears, and the 
outlines of the glorious hills and the surrounding jungle become more and more 
visible. Altogether this Ottakkal is a lovely station, in the heart of the forest. 
It composes one to fine thoughts. There is not a single human habitation with- 
in a radious of five miles. There is nothing to disturb one here except the 
loneliness of the spot. At night you may be awakened by a wild elephant, who 
pays his customary visit to the neighbouring jack tree (five yards from the 
wooden building ) when the jack fructifying season sets in. Eleven miles 

further to the east is the Arienkavu pagoda. This is a small temple, with its 
usual accompaniments of a copper-plate-roofed quadrangle, and a cupola-shaped 
shrine in the centre, dedicated to the god of the woods, a place of great sanctity 
and renown, approached ^dth dread reverence by the superstitious traveller. 
The road still Ues by the side of deep and fearful ravines, thickly overgrown 
with moss and shrub, and tlu-ough a continuous belt of tall and stately forest 
of the kind already described, and tenanted by the majestic elephant and the 
royal tiger an4 all the minor denizens that 

'Roam the jungle free, 

Graze the turf until led. 

And drink the stream unbrewed.* 

Midway between Ottakkal and this pagoda is a two-roomed terrestrial paradise, 
used as a rest-house by the much-travelled Briton, and which is situated on the 
side of a precipitous and magnificent gorge, from which it takes its name. It 
is the most favoured of all the fair spots on which the eye of He aven rests, and 
when fitted up with theequipments of modern civilization, it might well raise the 
envy of even an English prince. A mile to the east of this venerable pagoda, 
is the famous pass through the ghauts, known as the * Arienkavoo Pass '. This 
beautiful glade on the ghauts is fifty miles away from where we started, and 
forms a sort of natural gateway through the chain of mountains which would 
otherwise be an impassable barrier to Travancore. The road, already described, 
cuts the moimtain saddle at its lowest point, and connects it to British India. 
This road, upon which the business-bound traveller of to-day does not pause to 
spend a moment's thought, bears at once willing testimony to the financial 
genius and engineering skill of former times. It would be ingratitude in us to 
forget our old benefactors, though the world is so much occupied with its present 
self that it has no time to look back or cherish memories of the past. The road 
struggles up inch by inch, for several hundred feet above the sea- level, before it 
reaches the top of this gap, and any but the stoutest heart must have been 
baffled in the attempt to make it, so great are the natural obstacles of wood, rock 
and ravine. The topmost part is presently reached, and you stand still and take 
breath for a while. Then, as you slowly vnnd down the toi-tuous path, looking 
at all the points of the compass, new beauties rise on every side before you. At 
every turn, you get exhilarating views of the enchanting landscape, which for 

10 Travancore Manual. [Cha?. 

the nonce relieves the prosaic mind of the dull monotony of daily Ufe and fills it 
with sweet thoughts of fancy. On the west is seen nothing but a dense jungle 
of the tall teak and the stout anjili, the valuable kongu and the oily vengai, 
and an impervious underwood, full of animal and vegetable life, resonant with 
the hum of the shrill Seevudu bee", and the gentle murmur of the forest leaves, 
with the perpetual rain dripping from them, and the deafening roar of the wild 
torrent below dashing its headlong course — altogether a scene which, by its 
richness and hugeness, produces something Uke a glut on the vision and obscures 
it. The eye then fondly tm-ns to the open east, the varied beauties of which 
furnish still ampler food to an imaginative mind. The view on that side, as laid out 
by nature, is simply grand. The ground gently falls eastward, step by step, for 
many miles, till at a great distance you see the ruins of a magnificent *gopuram' 
(tower), which reminds you that the level country of the Tamils has been reached. 
The zigzag line of rich avenues, with banyan trees 30 feet in circumference and 
perhaps as old as Queen Mangamma herself, indicate which way the cart road 
lies. On yonder right, flow the magnificent waters of a mighty cataract! used 
by milUons of pilgrims from a remote past, and which, though perhaps of not 
equal sanctity to those of the Vedic Ganges, are yet as pure. The smoothness 
of the rocks, over which the water flows, reminds one of the immensity of the 
time that has elapsed, and the hundred Uttle streams and channels into which 
the waterfall has been diverted, show how the hand of man in later ages has 
utilized it for religious and secular purposes. The green valley between, with 
their rice fields and groves of cocoanut palms in their midst, add their share of 
beauty to the surrounding scene. To the left, your eye falls on clusters of Hindu 
villages with houses closely packed to one another — an economy pecuHar to this 
region, but unknown on the Western Coast. The houses, though small and 
humble, are neat and well-built ones, made of brick and chunam, and afford the 
inmates efl'ective shelter from the biting winds of the monsoon, which blow here 
with unstinted fierceness. Further left, you catch a glimpse of an Isolated rock, 
with a Hindu temple on its top founded according to popular tradition about the 
beginning of this * yuga', but, at any rate, showing that the Hindu worshipper of 
old had a touch of the romantic in him. On both sides of the road the tilled red 
soil bespeaks the quiet and patient industry of the ryot who, though the butt 
of fickle fortune, has through several generations and amidst all change of 
circumstances yet remained a contented and loyal subject. Overhead fly troops 
of water-laden clouds, precipitated through a hundred gaps by the winds on which 
they ride as if in a hurry to convey to the anxiously awaiting villagers of Pandi 
the glad tidings of rain and plenty in the land of Parasurama with which their 
own prosperity is so indissolubly bound. In short, on every side, you are greet- 
ed with a rich and interminable prospect of Nature's beauties, sown broadcast in 
riotous profusion before you, such as is only possible in a Travancore landscape." 

In spite of repeated tours over this pretty tract of country, my fasci- 
nation remains undiminished for wood and water, for hill and gorge, for 
high peaks and deep chasms, for the cry of the jungle bird and the roar of 
the wild ton-ent. I am not sure if this charm will not disappear with the 
introduction of the Eailway. This scene of never ending beauties of the 
Aryankavu Pass might become an old-world dream. Speedy locomotion is 
inconsistent with the full enjoyment of natural beauties or diversified 

* A kind of bee that makes a shrill sonnd often met with in our jungles. 

t Dr. Caldwell Bays, " It may be asserted without risk of exaggeration that Courtallam is 
the tinest freshwater bathing place in the world." 

I.] Physical Features. 11 

landscape. One relishes them better for the dull country-cart journeys. 
The steam engine dashing across this 60 miles of rich scenery in a couple 
of hours, the natural beauty of the country will thus quickly pass the eye 
and escape enjoyment, like a flash of lightning. It would be as if one swal- 
lowed a whole meal in a single gulp. So sudden a change in tlie life of 
the quiet and simple Travancorean may be a matter for regret, but a vain 
regret after all. It is impossible to stand still in this age. Such is the 
current of modem civilisation. We must move on whether we will 

Mountains. — The hilly region of Travancore is very extensive and 
is a marked of feature of the State. What the Himalaya mountains are 
to the Indian Continent, that the Western Ghauts are to Travancore- 
Without these Ghauts Travancore would be a poor tract of land, treeless 
and arid and inhospitable, without rivers and rains, exposed to droughts 
and famine even more than the worst part of the East Coast, which itself 
would be the much poorer but for these Ghauts. They affect all the con- 
ditions of life now pecuUar to Travancore, and it is no wonder therefore 
that the Travancorean worships the Ghauts, particularly one of the high- 
est peaks in them where sage Agastya is said to dwell, and has deified 
their maker Parasurama who created Malayalam from the sea, the up- 
heaved surface of which became the Ghauts. Reference is made in another 
part of this book to the 5 presiding deities (Sasthas) who guard the 
Western Ghauts. 

The eastern boundary of Travancore with three small exceptions (the 
Anchanad valley, the Shencottah Taluk and the eastern slopes of the Ma- 
hendragiri hills) is the lofty mountain range, the chain of Ghauts that 
forms the backbone of Southern India. The hills are of every variety of ele- 
vation, climate and vegetation. Some of the loftier mountains are entire- 
ly detached, except near their bases, from the neighbouring heights; they 
often have a precipitous descent towards the west and are connected 
with a sucession of low hills diminishing in altitude near the coast. To 
the north, the mountains rise to an elevation of 8,000 feet with plateaus 
over 7,000 feet ; the more important of these is part of the group known as 
the Anamalays (between lat. 10^ 13' 45" to 10° 31' 30" N ; and long. 76^52' 
30" to 77^ 23' E.) 

At the head of these hills stands Anamudy 8,840 feet high, round w^hich 
are clustered several others, among the more important of which may be 

• Siuce lhi8 portion of the Mamiul was written the Railway hua been completed and tLo 
line opened for traffic between Qiiilon and Tinncrelly. 

12 TkavaKcuue iSLs^'LAL. [Chapi 

mentioned, Eiavimala or Hamilton's plateau 7,880 feet (6 miles long by 3 
wide containing about 10,000 acres of tea and coffee land), Kattumala 
7,800 feet, Chentliavani 7,()64 feet, Kumarikal 7,540 feet, Karinkulam 7,500 
feet, and Devimala 7,200 feet. All these run in a horse-shoe shape with 
the opening facing towards the north-east. These hills, together with the 
lower ground connecting them, form the elevated plateau known to 
J^:uropeans as tlie High Kange. The broken nature of the hills here 
causes the scenery to be far more varied and beautiful than that 
generally met with either in the Pulneys or Nilgiris. The general trend 
of the highlands is north-north-east and south-south-west, the highest 
elevation being to the north-east and to the south, giadually decreasing in 
sloping undulating hills towards the west excepting the Anamudy moun- 
tain and its plateau, which is situated at the extreme south-south-west 
end of the range. Strictly speaking, the tract known as High Ranges can 
hardly be said to be a plateau ; it is rather a succession of high hills with 
deep valleys between, running down to a depth of 2,000 to 3,000 feet 
below them. Mr. Munro, the first Superintendent and Magistrate of the 
Cardamom Hills, has described it thus : — 

*'The High Ranges of Travancore nse suddenly from the lower plateau of the 
Cardamom Hills and form a complete range of their own. On the south-east 
corner, the High Ranges begin with Sholeamalla or Cumncollum (8,480 ft.) 
and run in a south-west direction to Gennewurra, thence still south-west to 
Corecby and thence to Puddikut (6,000ft.) near Davycollum. From Puddikut, the 
line of walls runs in the same direction to Coorkacomboo (7,000 ft.); then running 
slightly more west, the Hills rise to Chokenamuddy (7,300 ft.) from which the 
coursers north-west to the gap where the Moonaur disappears. tVom the gap the 
Hills run slightly south-west and then north-west to Worraj^arathundoo; thence 
north to Perumputty Kullo (6,500 ft.) from which again the direction is north- 
east as far as Aunymuddy. From Aunymuddy the course is much broken and 
runs irregularly to Ercvimalla where there is a deep dip into the valley of the 
l^h-evimalla Aur which separates the Erevimalla plateau (also known as Hamil- 
ton's plateau) from Perumalmalla plateau. From this valley there is a steep rise 
to the north-west to Katoomalla (8,100 ft.). To the west of Katoomalla, the 
High Ranges comprise the plateaux within Chemmun Peak (7,100 ft.), Payrat- 
malla (7,400 ft.) and tlience eastward to Coomarikul (8,050 ft.). To the east 
of Coomarikul and Katoomalla lies the low Unjenaad Valley which separates 
this part of the High Ranges from the Highlands on the slopes of Tertamalla, 
on wliich are situated the hill villages of Kelandoor, Kandel, Pootoor, and Peru- 
malla at an average elevation of 5,000 feet. In its upper part the Unjenaad, 
Valley is also called the Thallayar Valley where the elevation is above 4,000 feet ; 
sloping gradually to the noi-theast, it opens out into the Unjenaad Valley proper 
which is a level terrace 2 or 3 miles wide and 5 miles long lying at an elevation 
of 3,000 feet. Below and to the east of Unjenaad the land slopes down rapidly 
to the British frontier probably at about 1,500 or 2,000 feet, a very feverish tract 
containing no resident population. 

*' To the south-cast of Tcrtamalla runs a ridge separating the water-shed 
between Unjenaad and Moouaui* and joining the high peaks bordering the Pulniea 

1] Physical Features. 13 

afc a peak called AUear Kunnoo (6,900 ft.). From AUear Kunnoo the course is 
bounded by a curve north north-east to Panibadyshola (8,000 ft.) and then runs 
north to Kuduvurratukul (6,600 ft.), where there is a deep dip into the Wutta- 
wudda river, and here the high land may he said to cease. From AUear Kunnoo 
southward, the line to Sholeamalla is marked by clear-cut cliffs averaging 
about 8,000 feet. Exclusive of the low Unjenaad Valley which is not above 3,100 
feet, the area within these boundaries may be roughly estimated at 400 square 
miles with an elevation of one of the peaks reaching as high as 8,837 feet". 

The following are the chief plateaux in the High Kanges : — 
GuDABAMALA. Between Karinkulam in the south-east corner and 

Devimala. Average elevation 6,000 feet, area 4 sq. miles ; well wooded and 


Devicolam. Lies to the west of the above and has an area of 3 
sq. miles. Average elevation 6,000 feet; beautifully W'Ooded and well 

Anaycudoo. Lies west of the Devicolam plateau and is separated 
from it by the Kazhuthaparathundoo. This beautiful valley is sheltered 
by the Chokkanmudy peaks. Elevation 5,120 feet. Between Vagavara 
and Anamudy there is a very pretty glen with an elevation of 7,000 feet. 

Ebavimala. Lies noHh of Anamudy and is separated from it by a 
deep valley. Elevation 7,300 feet. Bare of wood on its summit but well 
wooded in the slopes. Has a cold bracing climate. Length 6 miles and 
breadth 3 miles. 

Perumalmala. liongth 2 miles, breadth 1^ miles. Elevation 7,000 feet. 

To the north of this lies a plateau shelterd between Kattumala, 
Kimiarikal and Pajrratmala. Length 4 miles, breadth 3 miles and 
elevation 7,000 feet. There is another plateau to the north of Kattumala 
terminating at Pudikutmala. Ai-ea 3 sq. miles. Elevation 6,600 feet. 

Anchanad. Area 30 to 40 sq. miles. Elevation 3,100 feet. This 
is a level terrace, two or three miles wide and five miles long. 

Vattavada. Length 6 miles, elevation 6,000 feet. Greater portion 
bare of wood but the upper portion towards the top of the pass into Bodi- 
naickanur heavily wooded and well watered. 

KuNDALA. South-w^est of Vattavada plateau at an elevation of 5,600 
feet; length 6 miles and breadth 2 miles. A great deal of swamp land. 

From the High Kanges the land slopes steeply down in three directions ; 
north-east to the Anchanad valley, to the west into the valleys of the 
Kandanpara, Paiisbakkuthu and Idiyara rivers, and southwards to the 
Cardamom Hills and Peermade. These last form an extensive hill plateau, 

14 TrvAVAXcoRE Manual. [Chap. 

60 miles long and 20 miles broad, lying at an elevation of from 3,000 to 
3,500 feet with peaks and hills rmming up to 4,000 or even 5,000 feet. 
This is the centre of planting industry and is largely resorted to by Euro- 
peans, who have also taken up for the purpose Camp Gorge, Pomnudi, 
Ashamboo &c. From the main range and from the western water-shed of 
the Peerniade plateau and the High Range, rocky spurs run out to the 
west and north-west extending at times to within a short distance of the 
sea and forming a series of parallel valleys drained by numerous rivers. 

South of Peermade, the lofty mountain range is of no breadth until 
W'e come to the beautiful sanitarium of Muthukuzhi Vayal or ** The field 
of precious stones", 4,400 feet above sea level. For the remaining part 
of its length the great range becomes a mere ridge sloping down on 
either side and running north-north-west and south-south-east at an ele- 
vation of about 4,000 feet with isolated peaks rising here and there, the 
most important of which are the Agastyar peak ( 6,200 ft. ) and the 
Mahendragiri peak ( 5,500 ft.). The Agastyar peak was once the seat 
of an Observatory. It is also famous as having been the abode of sage 
Agastya, ** a savant, physician, philologist and theologian ". The 
Mahendragiri peak stands on the area drained by the Hanuman River in 
the Tovala Taluk. This is the southei-nmost peak of the Travancore 
Ghauts and is supposed to be the hill from which Hanuman or the 
monkey God is supposed to have jumped to Lanka or modern Ceylon 
in quest of Sita. 

Besides the peaks referred to above, may also be mentioned, Kallanad, 
Nedumpara, Papanasam, Amritamala, Kodiyattur, Chengamanad, Peria- 
mala, Therathandu, and Marutwamala. 

Passes. BoDiNAiCKANUK. This is the most northern of the passes 
of Travancore. It is ascended with great difficulty from the valley below. 
It connects Kothamangalam with Bodinaickanur. 

Tev.aj^am. This connects Todupuzha on the Travancore side of the 
Ghauts with Kambam on the Madura side. This pass reaches the top of 
the Ghaut after a very steep ascent ; for 2 miles from there it proceeds 
to Perrinjincooty 12 miles, continuing its course to the eastern Periyar 14 
miles further and reaching Idumpanur, the first village in Travancore 
13 miles beyond that river. This is now little frequented as it tra- 
verses a very wild and mountainous region. 

Kambam. This pass though rugged for 1^ miles, is one of the 
best across the hilly tract separating the countries of Travancore and 
Madura. Merchants frequently pass this route. 

I.] Physical Featui^ks. 15 

GuDALUR. This connects Kanjirapalli with Kambam and Utta- 
mapoliem, a distance of 44 miles. A more northern road strikes 
off from this at Copachetty Tavalam, 3 miles west of the MuiijamuUa 
Periyar, and proceeds by the Codamurutty Ghaut, a steep and difficult 
acclivity, to Erattupetta. This route runs over a rugged surface and 
is tolerable except near the pass which is now closed for traffic on ac- 
count ^of the facilities it oflfered to smuggling. 

South of Gudalur another path ascends the hills and leads to Sabari- 
mala, but it is of no consequence being only frequented by cattle. 

Shivagiri Ghaut. This route is also prohibited. A road leads 
up to it from Kajapoliem, while another from Srivilliputtur ascends from 
the Satur Ghaut ; but both these are difficult. 

AcHANKOViL (1,500 ft.). This lies north of the Puliyara pass and joins 
Achankovil to Pumblypatam and Shencottah. This has a difficult ascent 
for a mile from the plains stretching along its eastern foot. The road, 
after leaving the summit, descends partly through the bed of a stream to 
the pagoda, a distance of 6J miles ; thence passing over swelling ground 
and following the right bank of the Kulakkada river, it reaches Konni, 
a distance of 29 miles having crossed 9 powerful streams, the passage of 
which during the rains constitutes the chief difficulties of the route. 
This route passes from Shencottah over Konni, Pantalam and Mavelikara 
to Kartikapalli measuring on the whole a distance of more than 60 miles. 

Aryankavu (1,200 ft.). This connects Quilon with Shencottah and is 
one of the principal passes of Travancore. It has an easy ascent from the 
open country on the east and passes through Mampazhatora and Pattana- 
puram, pursuing its course over waving ground through thick woods. 

Shanar Ghaut (1,700 ft.). This lies south of the above pass and 
is very difficult and little frequented. It ascends 4 miles and descends 
11 miles to Kulattupuzha, from which it passes through a thick forest. 

Aryanad. The roiite to British territory by this pass is now 
closed up. The road rising from the plains on the east to the top of 
this pass and thence descending through a thick forest to the village 
of Aryanad near Nedumangad is spoken of as having been at one time a 
very good one. 

MoTTACCHiMALA (4,500 ft.). In the Bridge estate. This is the chief 
pass by which cardamoms are smuggled from Balamore to Agastyar. The 

16 Travancore Makual. [Chap. 

road was once rideable to Papanasara ; the Kanikkara even now go down 
this path for tobacco which they buy about Papanasam, 

From Calacaud to Muthnkiizhivayal there is a path used by canemen 
and cardamom smugglers. 

Pass from Kadukkara to Shoi-avalli Madam. Much used by villagers 
from Alagiapandyapuram and other parts going to Panagudy. Daily the 
Panagudy cattle come down to the Kadukkara edge of the jungle to 
graze. It is also used largely by estate coolies 

TiRUKKURANGUPY. About 2,000 feet ; bridle-path cut on both sides. 
Much used by estate coolies. 

Pass through Miranjimea Estate. Formerly a good path ascending 
the mountains from Panagudy leading to a large coflfee estate ; now a very 
bad track overgrown and not much used. 

Aramboly. The trunk road from Tinnevelly to Trivandrum passes 
through this pass. This fonns the best entrance into Travancore. 

Yedamala. a small and easy pass across the group of hills forming a 
ridge about 2 miles to the north-east of Manitwamala near Cape Comorin. 

Rivers. — Travancore is especially fortunate in its river system. Few 
countries of similar extent are supplied with so many fine streams. Owing 
to this circumstance and to the heavy rainfall, every part of Travancore 
is abundantly supplied with water and that of an excellent quality. Of 
the numerous rivers taking their rise in the Travancore hills very few 
escape to the other coast. The rivers have generally a capricious course 
and are of varjing lengths and depths. The bed over which they flow is 
frequently rocky in the interior, but as they leave the elevated parts, it 
is in most cases sandy, succeeded by a muddy sediment as they empty 
themselves into the lake or the sea. During the wet weather, which com- 
mences about the beginning of June and lasts till November, these rivers 
are filled from bank to bank with a large volume of water rolling in*a 
strong current to the sea. The large rivers flow wnth tmrbulent and 
impetuous force frequently rising 12 to 14 feet above their ordinary level. 
The flood diminishes as the monsoon di-aws to a close, the rivers slowly 
subsiding into shallow and languid streams. In the larger rivers — the 
Periyar, the Eanni and the Kallada — there is always a considerable 
amount of water, due no doubt to the fact that the heavy forest at their 
sources does not allow the rains falling in the wet weather to run oflf too 

I.] Physical Features, XI 

The Periyar. The Peviyar is the finest, the largest and the most 
important of the rivers of Travancore. It takes its rise in the Shivagiri 
forests. As it first emerges from the dense forest the volmne of water 
it contains is 30 yards wide and 2 feet deep even in the driest weather. 
After a coarse of 10 miles northward it is joined by the Mullayar at an 
elevation of 2,800 feet. The Periyar then turns due west and con- 
tinues so for about 10 miles over sandy bed. About seven miles 
below Mullayar Tavalam there is formed a sort of gorge by the 
hills rising to a considerable height on either side of the river and 
approaching each other very closely. It is here that a dam is thrown 
by the Madras Gk)vemment to a height of 160 feet and a width of 
1,200 feet to form a lake which greatly helps the irrigation of the 
land in the Vaigai valley. By the construction of the dam the river 
is caused to back up for a considerable distance as far as the 
Vazhukkappara Tavalam, and all the low lying land on the north bank 
of the river is submerged, the water extending up all the side valleys and 
reaching to within a mile of Kumili. From here a channel is tunnelled 
through the hill side over a mile long, by which the water is conveyed to 
one of the streams that go to feed the Vaigai river. 

After a winding course of 8 miles from the dam, the river reaches Peer- 
made and then passes through a narrow gorge, below which it is joined by 
the Perinthura river. Lower down, passing the Todupuzha-Periyar cross- 
ing, the Kattapanayar joins it and still lower the Cheruthoni or Chittar. 
Lower down it is joined by the Pirinyankuta Ar and a mile later by the 
Muthirappuzha Ar, where the elevation is about 800 feet and there is a 
great fall of 800 feet in 4 J miles. There is also another fall called Kok- 
karanippara, where the river is said to tumble over a cliff 100 feet high, 
close to the above. The Periyar after receiving the Muthirappuzha river 
flows west-north-west for about 8 miles when it pours under a large rock 
which probably has fallen from the hill side on account of landslip. In 
dry weather when the volume of water is small, the whole of it flows 
under the rock. This has been exaggerated into a sudden disappearance 
of the river miderground. The water is considered to pass into a chasm 
and emerge again only after a very long distance. 

Ten miles below 1 he junction of the Muthirappuzha river with the 
Periyar, at Karimanal, the river becomes navigable or suitable for the 
floating of timber. It is then joined by the Deviar and passes the once 
populous village of Neryamangalam. From this place it flows for about 
8 miles when it unites with the Idiyara or Idamala river. From here as 
far as Malayattur, the river, now a grand one upwards of 400 yards 

18 Tbavancore Manual. [Chap. 

broad, is fed by numerous streams. Passing Malayattur and after a 
winding course of 14 miles it reaches Alwaye, where it divides itself into 
two branches, which again subdivide themselves into several small ones be- 
fore reaching the sea. The principal branch flows north-west and 
expands itself into a broad sheet of water. Another branch takes a south- 
erly direction and is broken up into a number of small channels leading 
into the lake near Verapoly, while a third one flows to the south and 
discharges itself in the lake south of Tripunatora. 

The Periyar flows through the Taluqs of Changanachery, To- 
dupuzha, Muvattupuzha, Kunnatnad, Alangad and Parur. The chief 
places on its banks are : — Peermade, Neryamangalam, Malayattur, 
Cheranallur, Vazhakulam, Alwaye, UUinad and Verapoly. 

The total length of the river is 142 miles of which for the last 36 miles 
only it passes through inhabited tracts. It is navigable for boats for 60 
miles above its mouth. 

The Minachil River. This rises on the Peermade plateau a httle 
above Nallatannippara at an elevation of 3,500 feet. It runs first north-west 
and then west and after 7 or 8 miles joins the Havana Ar which rises on 
the slopes of Melakavu. The combined stream after a course of 2 miles 
due south is joined by the Codamurutty river and passes by Punjar. After 
leaving the forest boundary at Erattupetta, its course is south-east and 
leaving Kondur and Lalam, it passes through Kitangur and Kottayam 
after which its waters, dispersed in minor channels, unite with the Vemba- 
nad lake by several embouchures. The length of the river is 35 miles and 
it is navigable for boats 26 miles. 

The Muvattupuzha Eiver. This is formed by the union of three 
smaller rivers, the Todupuzha, the Vadakkan and the Kothamangalam, 
which take their rise on the western slopes of the Peermade plateau 
and running in a westerly and north-westerly direction through a wild 
country unite at Muvattupuzha, thus getting the name. The combined 
river flows for about 8 miles in a westerly direction and then turns south 
and passes Ramamangalam, Piravam and Vettikkattrunukku, at which 
point it forks, one branch running in the direction of Cochin and the other 
flowing into the Vembanad lake at Tannirmukkam. Total length 62 
miles ; navigable for boats 42 miles inland. 

The Ranni or Pamba River. This is one of the finest rivers of Travan- 
core and is formed by the junction of three rivers, the Kallar, the Kakkada Ar 
and the Valiya Ar, which last is made up of two other small ones — the Pamba 


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I.] Physical Features. 10 

and the Arutha. The original stream Pamba from which the river takes its 
name rises on tTie hills to the north of Pulicchimala and after rmming for 
a long distance is joined by the Arutha which rises on the Peer- 
made plateau, and the two together form the Valiya Ar which after a couise 
of 6 miles westward falls over Perunthfen aruvi (height 90 ftj and is 
then joined by the Kakkada river. The Kallar which rises in the valley 
north of Chempazhakkara joins the main river a little above Eanni and the 
combined river noW called the Banni leaves the forest area as a powerful 
stream 200 yards broad. It then runs west for about 30 miles when 
it is joined by the Manimala river and 6 or 8 miles lower down tlie Ku- 
lakkada river joins it and after a com-se of about 20 miles the whole flows 
into the Yembanad lake. 

The total length of the river is 90 miles. The chief places on its banks 
are: — Konni, Aiyrur, Aranmula, Chengannm*, Mannar and Pulikunnu. 
The river is navigable for boats for 45 miles, and is specially useful for 

The Kallada River. This is the third largest river in Travancore. 
The union of five large streams issuing from the mountainous valleys of the 
Ghauts forms the Kallada river which flows through the Taluqs of 
Pattanapuram, Kunnattur, Kottarakara and Quilon. The main branch 
rises in the most southerly of these valleys and is foiined by numerous streams 
that rise on the elevated plateau stretching from the Alvarkurichi peak to 
Chemmunji. Flowing west it is joined by several small streams and after 
leaving the Kulattupuzha valley proper and running 5 miles passes the 
Kulattupuzha village situated on its left bank. Here the river is about 80 
yards wide and never gets dry even in hot weather. Three miles lower 
down it is precipitated over the Minmutti catamct, the water rushing with 
immense velocity. It is then joined by the Chenthroni and Kalduritty 
rivers. Passing Ottakkal where it pours over another cataract, the river 
then i*uns for about 10 miles in a west-north-westerly direction and leaves the 
forest area 3 miles above the town of Punalm\ Turning north and bend- 
ing a little north-west, it passes Pattanapm-am and 2 miles below Punalur 
it is joined by the Chalakkara Ar. It then flows in a westerly direction 
and then south-west until it falls into the Ashtamudi lake, a little north of 
Quilon, by several mouths. Its length is 70 miles of which 25 miles are 
navigaMe for boats. The chief places on its banks are : —Punalur, Pattana- 
puram, Pattazhidesam, Kulakkada, Kunnattur and Kallada (East and West). 

The Manimala River. The main branch of this river rises under the 
Mothavara hill and drains the valley to the weat of Amritamala. Aftev 

feO TuAVAXcoi^E Manual. [CHAr. 

flowing for about 6 miles it is joined at Kuttukal by the NyarainpuUar and 
then by several small streams before it joins the Ranni* about 25 miles 
above its mouth. The length of the river is G2 miles. The villages of 
Peruvantanam, Mundakayam, Yerumakuzhi, Manimala, Kaviyur, Kal- 
luppara, Tiruvalla, Talavadi, Kozhimukku and Chambakkulam lie 
on its course. 

The Achankovil or Kulakkada River. This rises on the western 
slope of the Thuval mala (Coonumcal square rock) and Ramakkal peaks. 
It passes Achankovil village and, after receiving numeix)us accessions fi'om 
small rivers and streams, leaves the forest area 4 miles above KonniyUr. 
This river runs a course of 70 miles first north-west and then west and 
joins the Pamba river near Viyapuram. Konniyur, Omallur, Pantalam, 
Mavelikara and Kandiyur are situated on its banks. It flows through the 
Taluqs of Chengannur, Kunnattur, Mavehkara, Tiruvalla and Kartikapalli. 
Navigable for boats -40 miles and specially useful for cultivation purposes. 

The AiTUNGiU. or Vamanapuram River. This rises on the peak of 
Cheiumunji north-east of Trivaudrum and on the spur running out from the 
main range as far as the clifis of Ponmudi. It then descends rapidly and 
runs at first in a northwesterly direction, then west for 23 miles bet- 
ween high banks and over a sandy bed when it passes the village of 
Vamanapuram. From here it runs south-west and empties itself 
into the Anjengo estuary after a course of 85 miles. Nelnad, Vamanapu- 
ram, Attungal, Kuntallur and Chirayinkil are the chief places on its banks. 

The Itthikkara River takes its rise in the low hills situated near 
Madatturakani and those to the south-west of Kulattupuzha. After small 
accessions it leaves the forest area near Manarkoda and proceeding in a 
north-westerly direction is joined by a large stream. From here it flows 
south-west and west and falls into the Paravur backwater. Length 30 
miles. Chadayamangalam, Pallikal, Kummallur and Nedungolum lie on 
its banks. 

The Killiyar. This petty river rises in the Nedumangad hills. 
Its course is generally towards the south and after flowing for 15 miles it 
joins the Karamana river near Tiruvallam. This river irrigates a small 
tract of rice land by means of anicuts and channels taken off from it and 
supplies water to all the principal tanks of the Capital. 

The Karamana River. This rises on the ridge to the north of the 
Agastyar Peak and an outlying spur terminating in the Sasthankotta 
rock. It flows over a partially narrow rocky bed confined by high banks 
tl^rough a comparatively wild, woody and imcven country. Its dii-ectiou 







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I.] Physical Features* Si 

is first west, then south and finally south-west and it flows into the sea 
3 miles near Puntora, at the foot of the head-land tenned Covalani, after 
a course of 41 miles. 

The Neyyar. This rises on the slopes of the Agastyar peak at an 
elevation of 600 feet and descends with great rapidity until it reaches the 
foot of the hills. It then runs in a southerly direction and passes down • 
ward over a cataract 300 feet high, visible from Trivandrum. From here it 
flows over a partially rocky bed confined by bold banks and discharges 
itself into, the sea near Puvar where a small lagoon is formed. Its length 
is 35 miles. 

The Paralayar or Kuzhittura. This rises on the mountains north 
of Mahendragiri hills. Passing through a wild tract, it enters the plains 
at Tiruvattar and flows in a south-westerly direction. After a course of 23 
miles from its source it is joined by the Kothayar. It flows through the 
two Taluqs of Kalkulam and Vilavankod and reaches the sea at Tenga- 
patnam. The total length of the river is 37 miles. Tiruvattar, Munchira, 
Kuzhittura, and Arudesapattu lie on its banks. It is intercepted by dams 
at Ponmana. 

The KothaY'ar. This rises on the southern extremity of the Muthu- 
kuzhi Vayal plateau and to the east of VaUyamala peak at an elevation of 
4,500 feet. It descends slowly at first and then more rapidly. After flowing 
^OT 14 miles it reaches the Mottacchi valley (1,800 ft). It continues to 
descend with rapidity tumbling over falls 30 feet high and eddying among 
huge boulders, until at last it reaches the elevation of 250 feet. From here 
it flows leisurely and is joined by two streams rising on the Motavan Potha 
and the Thacchamala hills. Proceeding south we find the remains of the 
Aryanad dam now in ruins. This dam was built with the intention of divert- 
ing the water into the Paralayar above the Pandyan dam and eventually 
into the Pazhayar whose stream is so largely used for irrigating the paddy 
lands of Nanjanad. After passing the Aryanad dam and about 4 miles 
lower down it is precipitated over the Triparappu fall (50 ft. high), a very 
sacred place where there is a large pagoda. From here it proceeds south 
and is joined above Kuzhittura by the Paralayar. Length 20 miles. 

Project works on a large scale are now going on to divert the waters 
of the Kothayar to supplement the existing irrigation system of Nanjanad. 
A detailed description of the Project is given under 'Irrigation' in the 
Chapter on * Agriculture and Irrigation.' 

The Vatasseri River. Also called the Pazhayar. This is the most 
southerly river in Travancore. Many small streams combine to form 

^2 Travancore Manual. [ Chap. 

tliis i-iver, one of wliich rises soutli of the Mahendragiri peak and passing 
down a steep gorge reaches the low country a little to the west of 
Anantapurani, another in the Kuniinuthu Chola Estate and another 
drains Black Eock (Mr. Cox's Estate). All these pass out of the forest 
before they unite to form tl:e main river. This flows through the Taluqs 
of Tovala and Agastisvaram in a south-easterly direction and flows into the 
Manakudi estuary after a course of 23 miles passing the towns of Bhuta- 
pandi, Kottar, Nagercoil, Tazhakudi and Sucliindram. This is a very 
useful river for irrigation. 

Tlicse are tlie chief rivers ot Travancore. The number of smaller streams 
is very large but as they are otherwise insignificant any detailed description 
of them is unnecessary here. 

Canals and Backwaters. Among the many natural advantages 
possessed by Travancore, one of the most important and one which adds 
materially to its wealth and prospenty, on account of its affording great 
facilities for water communication from one end of the country to the 
other, is its extensive backwater system. The backwaters or kayah, as 
they are locally called, arc inlets from tlie sea which run in a direction 
parallel to the coast. From Trivandruin as far as Ponnani in the 
District of Malabar, a distance of over 200 miles, there is a suc- 
cession of these backwaters or estuaries, connected together by navi- 
gable channels constructed from time to time. The total area occupied 
by the surface of the lakes amounts to 2274 sq. miles of which 157i aj:e 
within Travancore. Their breadth is veiy unequal, in some places 
spreading into a wide expanse, at others diminishing to a small stream, 
presenting on the whole a very irregular and broken figure. 

Formerly there was uninterrupted navigation only as far as Quilon. It 
was in 999 M. E. that Her Highness Parvathi Bayi sanctioned the construct- 
ion of 2 canals, one from Trivandrum to the backwater of Kadinangulam 
and the other to connect Quilon and the Paravur backwater, both of which 
projects were contemplated by Col. Munro ; but the work was commenced 
only in 1000 M. E. (1825 A. D.) and completed in 3 years under the super- 
vision of Dewan Vencata How. The 2 canals measure in length upwards 
of 17 miles, which including 4 bridges cost about 4 lacs of Rupees. Tliese 
canals bear the name of Her Highness Parvathi Bayi whose beneficent reign 
is still gmtefully remembered by the people. 

There were still the Varkala cliffs, standing as a barrrier against direct 
and free comnmnication from Trivandrum to Quilon. This was removed 
by the construction of two tunnels at an enormous cost in the I'eign 

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1. ] Physical Featt-rks. 23 

of His Highness Rama Varma (Ayilliam 'tTirunal.1860 to 1880 A. D). 
The length of one tunnel is 924 feet and of the other 2,364 feet. The first 
tunnel was opened to traffic on the 15th January 1877 ; the second tunnel 
and the whole of the Barrier works were completed and opened to traffic 
in 1880. They cost upwards of 17 lacs of rupees. 

Many of these backwaters are not very deep, yet they are all navigable 
for boats of any size. Their bed consists generally of a thin layer of 
soft black mud, incumbent on a fine dark sand, often with som 
mixture of soil. Ofi account of the large volume of water these back- 
waters receive during the monsoon time, their water, except in the 
immediate vicinity of their mouths, is quite fresh; in some places 
they are always so in the interval of the tides, while in others, they con- 
tinue to be so from July to October. The places where these backwaters 
meet the sea are called ^<2r A /« or Po^/tt5, according as the opening is per- 
manent or temporary. The chief Azhis are those at Quilon, Kayan- 
gulam and the mouth of the Periyar ; and the Pozhis are those of the 
Veh, the Paravur and the Pidawa. The flood during the monsoons leaves 
behind a slimy deposit which effuses an abundance of fertihty over the 
lands exposed to it. The backwaters also foster the growth of many 
weeds and aquatic plants. The shores of the lakes are filled with houses 
and plantations of cocoanut trees and present the appearance of a per- 
petual garden. 

Starting from Trivandrum there is first, at a distance of 3 miles, the 
Veli Kayal which looks like an expanded canal. On one side the shore 
is overhung by a liigh cliflf and the other side is skirted on by an extensive 
range of cocoanut plantations. Passing the Veli backwater, by the 
Parvathi Puthenar canal above referred to, we come to the Kadinan- 
gulam Kayal. Here again both the banks are lined with the cocoa- 
nut palm and a low brushwood. This backwater is a little larger than 
the Veli. The water is not deep. Going by the canal, we next pass 
Anjengo, formerly a place of note on accoimt of the English factory and 
the early commercial relations between the British Government and 
Travancore, but now a small port and fishing village. Here is the 
Anjengo Kayal. The length of this Kayal is 12 miles, breadth £ of 
a mile, and area 8 sq. miles. This receives the Attungal or Vamana- 
puram river and is formed chiefly by its waters. It is connected with 
the sea by a narrow bar. 

A few miles beyond Anjengo, the Varkala clifl^s are reached. Before the 
construction of the tunnels, travellers used to land at a place called Kozhi- 

24 Tbavakcore Manual. [Chap. 

thottaiii (the nicain line of communication ran by Kozhithottam to Edawa» 
a distance of 12 miles), from where they walked to Edawa mitil the back- 
water is reached, the road used being by the sea-beach, at times climbing 
over the summit of the cliflfs that stretched into the sea. The view from 
these cliflfs is extremely beautiful end the whole landscape charming. 
Here stands the village of Varkala famous for its ancient temple dedicated 
to Janardanaswamy, to which Hindus from all pai-ts of India resort. 

Passing the tunnels, about 6 miles northwards there is the Nadayara 
Kayal. This again is of minor importance. Passing the Nadayara 
backwater a canal runs in a northwesterly direction for some 3 miles 
whence the Paravur canal and backwater lead to Quilon. The Paravur 
Kayal, though only a small one, is very deep and dangerous on account of 
its being very close to the sea and in the wet weather the bar opens 
of itself, sometimes suddenly. The Paravur and Quilon canals aggregating 
about 11 miles in length, were cut between 1826 and 1829, at a total 
cost of Rs. 90,929. Passing the Paravur backwater we reach Quilon 
by the Eravipuram and Quilon canals, a distance of about 5 miles. 

On leaving Quilon the traveller enters the romantic and enchanting 
Ashtamudi Kayal. The name * Ashtamudi ' is derived from the fact that 
the lake bmnches oflf into 8 creeks, called by different names. One 
portion near the Quilon Residency is called the Asramom lake and the 
other close to the Cutchery is called Kureepuzha or Loch Lomond. On 
either side we see a laterite bank 50 or 60 feet high enclosing little bays 
with deep blue waters. The broken side and the fragments of rocks are 
filled with various kinds of small shrubs while on the summits there are 
thickly planted gardens. About 2 miles north of Quilon the water opens 
out into a very spacious bay into which the Kallada river empties itself. 
There is an outlet to the sea at the western end which is locally known 
as the Neendakara bar. It is of sufficient depth for small vessels and the 
barges built at Tuct in Quilon are safely launched into the sea at this 
point. It covers an area of 20 sq. miles, its extreme length and breadth 
being 10 and 9 miles respectively. The banks are covered with many 
kinds of plants. Five miles beyond Quilon the backwater ends and the 
Chavara canal begins and the scenery becomes monotonous. 

We next come to a very small inlet called the Panmana Kayal. 
This is followed by the Ayiitimtengu Kayal which again leads us to 
the extensive Kayangulam Kayal. The Kayangulam lake has an 
outlet bar of the same name which admits of small coasters from the 
Arabian sea. This made Kayangulam a place of considerable conuQ^rcial 

I.] PnysirAL FKATrnES. £6 

importance in former days. This lake borders tlie two Tuluqs of Karu-. 
ttagapalii and Kartikapalli. Its extreme length is 19 miles and extreme 
bt^adth 4 miles; area 23 sq. miles. 

Passing the Kayangulam Kayal we reach Karumadi near Ampalapuzha 
by a natm*al stream through Trikkunnapuzha and Thottapalli chera. 
Proceeding along on our way, we see extensive rice fields on either side, 
the country here being flat and almost submerged in water. From 
Ampalapuzha, Allepjpey is 12 miles distant. There are no backwaters to 
be passed but only canals, which at these places are very broad and join 
the Pallathurithy river flowing into the Venibanad lake near AUeppey. 
Alleppey town is reached by a canal, before entering which there is 
a deep basin 40 to 50 feet in depth infested by alligators of enormous size, 

Allep|)ey is now the first commercial port of Travancore, its greatest 
advantage as an emporium arising from its singularly natural breakwater 
formed in the open roadstead and the long and wide mud bank which helps 
large vessels to anchor safely even in the stormiest weather. 

Beyond Alleppey we come to the very large and spacious bay, the 
Vetnbanad Eayal. This stretches across to the east for a distance of 
over 10 miles. The waters of the Pamba, Muvattupuzha and Minachil 
jivers are emptied into it. It borders the Taluks of Ampalapuzha 
Sbertallay, Vaikam, Yettumanur, Kottayam and Changanachery. Its 
extreme length is 52 miles and breadth 9 miles and the area covered by 
it is 79 sq. miles. It has a small beautiful island in the centre known as 
Patiramanal, or * the mysterious sand of mid-night', filled with cocoanut 
plantations and luxuriant vegetation. According to tradition, it was 
brought into existence by the piety of a Nambudiri Brahmin, wlio, while 
travelling in a canoe, jumped into the lake to perform his evening 
ablutions. The waters, it is said, gave way and land arose from below 
forming a small island. Pallippuram and Perumpallam are two other 
islands in the lake. 

There are many pretty places along the borders of this lake, perpetually 
clothed with beautiful groves of cocoanut and other trees and with an 
endless succession of houses, churches and pagodas. ]Midway between 
Alleppey and Cochin stands on its eastern bank the sacred village of 
Vaikam where there is a large Siva temple to which thousands of pilgrims 
resort in the months of Vrichigam and Kumbham for the Ashtami festival. 
1?tom here to Cochin the backwater is of varying breadths and depths 
containing small patches of land here and there always adorned with 
cocoatiut trees. 


Fr^in Cocliin tlu* water coiumunication is by backwater to the north 
of Cranganore whence it ia continued by creek, channel and backwater 
via Chowghat to Ponnani, and across the Ponnani river to Tirur 
Railway station. Thus the system is complete for a distance of 213 miles 
from Trivandrum to Tirur. 

Among other backwaters may be mentioned: — 

The Kodungalur Kayal in the Taluk of Parur. Extreme length 
9 miles and extreme breadth 5 miles ; area 10 sq. miles. Has an outlet 

in the Cranganore bar which is always open. 

The Sasthankotta Kayal in the Kunnattur Taluq. 
The Vellani Kayal in the Neyyattinkara Taluq. 

And lastly the Manakudi Kayal in the Taluq of Agastisvaram. This is 
a small lagoon formed by the course of the Pazhayar before it dis- 
charges itself by a narrow mouth. 

As early as 18G0 the great Victoria Ananta Martandan canal was 
projected for connecting Trivandrum with Cape Comorin; but it had to 
be abandoned owing to several obstacles, though considerable simis of 
money had been spent on it. 

Coast Line. The Travancore coast has been surveyed by the 
Marine Department in connection with the Coast Survey of the Madras 
Presidincy and the following is extracted from their report : — 

"The Travancore coast, from Alleppey to Comorin, is generally low and sandy, 
f rin ^ed with cocoanut trees. Patches of red clififs of slight elevation^ here and 
thero break the otherwise continuous line of sand. The Travancore mountains, 
thongh generally spokon of by navigators as a part of the Western Ghauts, are 
inie:d separated from the latter by a low neck of land, the Palghaut valley, which 
ha ^ proved a most useful feature in the railway communication between east and 
we '>t coasts. Tlie length of this southern mountain chain, extending from a few 
m Igs north of Cape Comorin to the valley of Palghaut, is nearly 200 miles. 
The western brow, overlooking the coast of Travancore, is, with little exception, 
abru )t. On the eastern side of the culminating range the declivity is in general 
grad lal, the surface in many places forming extensive table-land, sloping gently 
and nearly imperceptibly to the eastward. In the last half of the year many 
cascades of great height are visible from seaward, pouring down the steep decli- 
vit7 of these western ghauts, which present so vast and lofty a front to the viol- 
en 3e of the south-west monsoon. The principal peaks of the Travancore Ghauts 
are : ^lahondraf^herry between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, about 20 miles north of 
Comorin, and Cootchimulla, nearly 5,000 feet, the same distance north-east of Tri- 
vandmra. Between these peaks the culminating range has a north-westerly 
dir^'ction, but afterwards trends a little east of north, more away from the coast. 
Its h ghest mountains, though loftier, are not so often visible at sea. They form 
the boundary between the State of Travancore on the west, and the British pro- 
vince of Tinncvclly on the east. To the ea«^t of Quilon there are broad, high 

I.] Physical Features. 67 

peaks, estimated at 5,000 feet above, and more than 30 miles from the sea. The 
southern portion of .the Western Ghauts, from Comorin to Palghat, run 
like a spine from south to north, thus formmg the water-parting between 
the east and west coasts rivers. They are exposed to all winds from east, 
round by the south-west, and there is scarcely a day when rain-clouds may 
not be seen hiding for a time the summits of the high land. Towards the 
vernal equinox (after which the air gets saturated with moisture and is hazy) the 
ghauts north of Quilon up to Calicut can seldom be seen. Midway between the 
ghauts and the low sea-coast, the country has several hills of moderate elevation, 
useful as landmarks. Beginning from the south, mention may be made of the 
isolated conical mount, in lat. 8° 8' N., and long. 73"^ 30' E., near Cape Com- 
orin, which is taken for the cape by seamen when approaching the coast from 
the west. The next conspicuous peak is Maravattoor, nearly midway between 
Mahendragherry and the Crocodile Kock, and 10 miles north-west of the conical 
mount. On the south-east of Trivandrum, and again to the north of that capital, 
hills, averaging about 400 feet, lie parallel to th 3 shore, some 4 or 5 miles off. 
Near Anjengo there are a few low hills. Above this place extensive back- 
waters become the peculiar feature, overspreading great portions of the low tract 
of countr5\ Vessels bound for any port on the west coast of Hindostan, and to 
the Persian Gulf during the north-east monsoon, from China, Australia, and the 
Bav of Bengal, or from Em*ope, should sight Ceylon, and make the coast of 
India somewhere near Cape Comorin, and thence hug the coast to profit by the 
land and sea breezes. The coast from Cape Comorin takes a general north- 
westerly direction for nearly 300 miles to Mount Delly."''" 

Ports and shipping facilities. t—ALLEPPEY (lat. 29^ 48' 
K., and long. 76° 18' 46" E.) is the principal seaport town of Travan- 
core and the seat of the Commercial Agent. It is the chief depot of the 
Travancore Government for the sale of forest produce, chiefly cardamoms, 
and is a place of considerable foreign trade in teak, cocoanut, betel-nut, 
ginger, coffee, pepper and fish. Many European and American Firms have 
their representatives here and extensive industries are carried on. It is a 
safe roadstead all the year round being protected by a soft mud bank on 
which a vessel might ride at less risk than at any other part of the coast. 
A shoal bank of from 6 to 9 feet extends about 1 J miles ofif shore. During 
the south-west monsoon, although the surf breaks on the shore to the north 
and the sea is white with foam outside, there is at Alleppey a large extent 
of smooth water, on the outer part of which a vessel might conveniently 
anchor in 4J fathoms and keep up a communication with the shore. In 
the fine season, a vessel not drawing more than 18 feet water may anchor 
in 4 fathoms or a trifle less, the bottom being soft mud. The anchorage in 
the roads during the south-west monsoon is with the lighthouse from N. E. 
to E. N., in 5 or 6 fathoms water. In the fair season from October to 
May, vessels may anchor in 3 or 4 fathoms with the lighthouse bearing 

• The Madras Manual of Administratioti Vol. ii. 

t The iuforniationuuder this head is chieflv based on the results of the Marine Stu-A-ejr 
above refer i-ed to. 

28 Travancoee" Manual. [ Chap. 

E. by N., the soundings being very regula-r. Puring the south-west xnpa-* 
soon trade cannot sometimes be carried on with Cochin, but the pari of 
Alleppey is always available. Alleppey has a flag-staff and nfear it 
is a lighthouse with a revolving white light attaining its greats 
brilliancy every minute. The light is of the second order of the 
holophotal description elevated 100 feet above mean sea-level and is 
visible in ordinary weather 20 miles. It was first exhibited on the 
night of the *28th March 18G2. Between Cochin and Alleppey the coast is 
very low, covered with trees, and may be approached to 6 fathoms iu a 
large ship, the bank being very even to 5 fathoms, about 1 or 1| miles from 
the shore. 

PoEACAD. Oat. 9^ 91' 25" N., long. 70"^ 23' E.). This is a village of 
considerable extent, coir, plank and timber for ship-building and peppei; 
being exported from here and the adjacent places. The port has declined 
since the opening of Alleppey port. There is an extensive mud banl^ 
here. Steamers call in the worst part of the monsoon weather, 
when Alleppey is closed. A portion of the village was formerly 
submerged in the sea and the eastern gate of the pagoda which 
escaped destruction at the time is still seen standing. The coast here 
continues low and uneven and is safe to approach to 5 or G fathoms. Th/e 
anchorage is opposite the village in 5J or 6 fathoms, IJ or 2 miles di^tai^.ti. 

QuiLON. (lat. S" 53^' K., long. 76° 34' E.). The coast betweea 
Alleppey and Quilon except near Tangasseri, is sandy and nearly straighl, 
but 10 miles north of Quilon there is a slight indent which does not how- 
ever amount to 1 mile from a straight line drawn between the two places^ 
The shore is safe to approach into the depth of 5 fathoms mud. 

During the early centuries of the Christian era Quilon was a very 
important port trading with China and Arabia. Throughout the middle 
ages it was one of the chief seats of the Saint TChomas Christians. In 
1503, the Portuguese established a factory and fort which was captured by 
the Dutch 150 years later. A considerable British garrison was statipned 
here until 1832, when it was reduced to one regiment. Till 1829 it 
was the principal town and head-quarters of the Travancore Govern- 
ment. It has still considerable inland and foreign trade. As a port it 
is next in importance to Alleppey. Steamers and ships call here. It is 
the chief entrepot of ginger and pepper on the Malabar Coast. 

The beach near Quilon is steep and sandy as far north as Tangasseri 
cove, w^here rocky coast begins and continues to the northward for- 2 to 
y miles. Two buoys had been laid at Quilon to mark the safe passage 

i. ] Physical Features. ^9 

to the anchoiuge. Vessels for Quilon should keep well out until the 
large factory chimney (of the Scottish Indian Company) bears N. E., 
and steer direct for the chimney keeping between the buoys. The coast 
between them is low, covered with trees, and may be approached to 
fathoms till near the entrance of Ivica river- (Azhimukam). Quilon bank 
of hard ground extends from the bay round Quilon point, a projecting 
part of the coast, where it becomes uneven and dangerous to approach 
under 12 or 13 fathoms. 

Takgasseri. (lat. S'^ 54' K., long. 76'^ 38' 15" E. ). Originally 
there w^as a fort built on a head-land of laterite jutting into the sea, 
portions of the old wall of which are still visible, as also the ruins 
of an old Portuguese town. The Tangasseri reef, a bank of hard 
ground, extends IJ miles to the south-west and 3 miles to the west 
of the Quilon point, and 6 miles along the 6oast to the northward. The 
bank should not be approached under 13 fathoms water by day, or 17 
fathoms at night. 

To the south-east of the reef the coast forms a bight, where ships may 
anchor oflf the town and military station of Quilon in 5 or G fathoms sand 
with Tangasseri flag-staff bearing N. W., 1 mile distant. From November 
to April shipping vessels can lie close inshore with safety. When appro- 
aching Quilon from the northward, vessels should not shoal to less than 
13 fathoms, as, off Tangasseri point, the foul ground extends westward to 
within less a mile of this depth. The most convenient anchorage and 
where a vessel will be close to the Port Office, is with the chimney of the 
Coffee Company's factory bearing about N. E. at the extreme of Tangasseri 
point west-north-west in from 4^ to 5 fathoms sandy bottom. Off 
Quilon point, there are 20 fathoms at 5 miles offshore ; but further to 
the north, that depth will be found farther from the coast. A lighthouse 
has recently been constructed here for the guidance of mariners. 

Anjengo. (lat. 8° 40' N., long. 76° 45' E.). Three miles to the 
southward of Quilon, the coast may be approached to 10 fathoms, which 
will be IJ miles from the shore. Anjengo flag-staff is between 4 or 5 
leagues to the west-noi-th-west of Trivandrum Observatory. Anjengo 
was once a place of considerable importance and the earliest settlement 
of the late East India Company on the Malabar Coast, but now it 
has a forsaken appearance. 

Four miles to the north of Anjengo there is a red table-land, which 
denotes the approach to it, in coming from the north. The anchorage off 
Anjengo, under 10 fathoms, is foul rocky ground ; but outside of tliat 

80 TiiAVANcoRE Manual. [ChAi^. 

depth, the bottom is sand and shells. A convenient berth is with the flag* 
staff about N. E by E. and Brinjaulhill (Mukkunnimala) about S. E by E., 
in 11 or 12 fathoms mud, off sliore 1 mile. A considerable surf, generally 
prevailing on the coast, particularly to the southward, renders it fre- 
quently unsafe for boats to land. 

PuxTOHA. Vessels communicating with Trivandrum should anchor 

off the coast here. There is a flag-staft' on the sandy beach. It is 2 miles 

south-west of Ti'ivandruuj Foit. No boats should attempt communication 

with the shore when there is a heavy surf in tlie north-east monsoon. The 

coast is sandy with cocoanut and other palms. Vessels should anchor in 

12 fathoms sand, J a mile from the flag-staff bearing N. E. and nearly 

in line with the Trivandrum Observatory which is distinctly made out in 

passing by its three domes. 

*- • 

Passing Puntora we come to Cuvalam (Kuttera point), a piece of 
low level land, terminating in a bluff cape higher than the contiguous 
coast. The coast here is low abounding with trees. It is bold to ap- 
proach, having 12 or 13 fathoms at a mile's distance, 25 or 2G fathoms about 
2 or 2J leases' distance. 


ViZHiNJAM. This is a small fishing village 11 miles to the east of 
Covalam, and is '' formed of steep bold land, or reddish chtfs, considerably 
elevated, having on the northern side a small river and village (Puvar) at 
the northern extremity of the high land, that form the point." The coast 
hereabouts is all sandy and fronted with cocoanut trees. From this point 
the coast takes a direction about B. E. by E. to Cadiapatnam point 
distant 6 leagues. 

CoLACHEL. (lat. 8" 10' N., and long. 77' 14' E.). This is a very ancient 
seaport. The Danes once had a factory here with a Commercial Kesident. 
Its safe harbour was well known to ancients. It has trade with the coast 
and Ceylon. The coffee produced in South Travancore is exported from 
here. The outlying rocks form a partial breakwater, within which land- 
ing is comparatively easy. Ships of good size can sail between some of 
the outlying rocks and ride at anchor to leeward of them in smooth water. 
It has a flag-staff, and a buoy which is used during the shipping season to 
mark the vicinity of a dangerous rock. 

Cadiapatnam point, (lat. 8° 11' N., and long. 77"" 18' E.) . This is 14 
miles from Cape Comorin. A first order dioptric fixed whitelight, 
intended to mark the A-icinity of the Crocodile rock, is exhibited 
here. It is visible 20 miles iu clear weather. The column la 80 feet 

V K . ■ : ; ; ' ; ■ • ■ 

l--^V;. ^1,. ■! ' 

!-.u ; ■. 


! . . ' 1 i 

1] rilYSK'AT. l^'j-ATrUKS. 31 

hi{(h and is built of granite and its focal plane is 13r) feet above sea level. 
A heavy surf prevails all along the part of the coast, between Comorin 
and Cadiapatnam. Only catamarans are used by the natives and no 
ships' boats attempt landing. To the south-west of this point 
there are two rocky islets, about 1 J miles from each other and distant 1 
and 2^ miles from the point, surroimded by rocks under water and foul 

The Crocodile Rock lies south-west at a distance of about 3 miles. 
A part of this appears above water sometimes ; but it does not break at all 
times nor is it visible at high water when the sea is smooth. At night it 
should not be approached under 25 fathoms water. In passing between 
these rocks and Covalam from 22 to 26 fathoms, is a good track with the 
land wind. The coast may be approached to 18 or 20 fathoms occasional- 
ly. The coast from here as far as Cape Comorin is low and sandy close to 
the sea, rising in a gentle acclivity to the base of the mountains situated a 
few miles inland. 

Manakudi. ( lat. 8° 5' N. , and long. 77°32' E. ). This is a village port 
about 4 miles to the west of the Cape and stands on the edge of the lake of 
the same name. 

Cape Comobin. (lat. 8^ 5' N., long. 77^ S6' E. ). This, the southern 
extremity of Hindustan, is a low Cape with two bare rocks beyond the 
point. On the mainland at the water's edge is a Hindu Pagoda, a low 
square white-washed building, and beside the temple is the village 
of Kanyakumari. West of the temple stands the Residency. The 
shore to the west of it is bare of vegetation but to the east 
it is wooded. About a mile from the Cape and beyond the fish- 
ing village, a sandy spit ending in a line of locks runs out into 
the sea, and beyond this point is an anchorage with sandy bottom 
to which native crafts run for shelter when the weather hinders them 
from rounding the Cape. As the south-west monsoon at this locality 
blows from the north-west, this anchorage is sheltered. Ships 
anchor bearing N. E. of the rocks that are off Cape Comorin 
and S. W. of the Vattakotta Fort, a conspicuous stone fort on 
the beach. The Governnient of India have been moved to make a Hydro- 
graphic Survey of this anchorage and the Travancore Government have 
located a customshouse on the shore and have constructed a road to 
the spot. A port has recently been opened under the name of the Sri 
Mulapuram Port. 

Among other ports may be mentioned, Rajakamangalam, Mnttam 

82 TiiAVANccmK Manx'al. [Chap. 

(whero there is a li[^'lithouse built on a liead-land at an elevation of 
105 feet above sea-level j, Tengapatnam, Puvar, Paravui-, Munampam 
and Kottur, 

Section B.— Geology. 

Geology proper .---Travancore owes its shape to the ei*08ion of the 
old crystalline rocks which has taken place on a most gigantic scale» 
Dr. King points out the quasi-terraced arrangement the country shows, 
descending by steps, as it were, from the mountains to the colBksi. Thiii 
terrace arrangement is much less well-marked in South Travanco^e tha6 
further to the north-west. The several ten-ace steps are marked by the 
existence of some ridges near the coast higher than the general surface of 
the country further inland. The most conspicuous of these is a consider- 
able mountain pass lying north and north-east of the old Fort of tJdaya* 

In the northern part of the country, the mountain mass is very broad, 
but just south of Peermade, the hilly backbone narrows considerably and 
becomes a lengthened series of more or less parallel ridges with lower and 
lower intermediate valleys. The real southern termination of the Ghatits 
occurs in latitude 8*^ 15' N., where the high mountains sink dowil 
into the Aramboly Pass. Southward of the pass rises the perfectly de- 
tached Kattadimala, a fine rocky mass 2,000 to 3,000 feet high, which 
sends off a rocky spur extending southwards with two breaks, for a dis* 
tance of 7 or 8 miles and terminating in the bold Marutwa hill, 4 miles 
north-west of Cape Comorin. The cape itself consists of low gneiss rocks, 
backed up by a palm-grown sandhill, about 100 feet high. A pair of 
very small rocky islands rise out of the sea a few hundred yards east 
of the Cape, and various other rocks occur off the coast opposite Muttam, 
Colachel and Melmadalatora which are the culminating points of reefs 
formed by ridges of gneiss running parallel with the coast. These rocks, 
especially one called the Crocodile Rock, were sources of great danger to 
the coasting ships but the danger has now been removed by the erection of 
a lighthouse on the Muttam headland. At Colachel, the seaport of South 

^'oTK : — A rcj^ular and systematic Geoloj^cal Survey cf Travancore has yet to be aader- 
taken. But in connection with the operations of the (loological Survey of India, Dl*. W. King 
and Mr. R. Bruce Foote have closely examined the country and their observations have been 
largely utilised in the writing of this Section. 

1 ] Geology. 33 

Tmvanoore, the lie of the rocks is such that it would be ea?;}' to connect 
them by short rubble breakwaters and thuH to form a very useful littlQ 
hacbour in whioh coasting craft could easily lie up during the south-west 

A broken band of younger rocks occupies a very great part of the tract 
lying betEween. the coast and the Trivandruni-Tinnevelly high road. There 
can be no doubt that these rocks, not very long since geologically 
^eakin^ formed an unbroken belt which extended considerably further 
inliBUid than at present The denudation they have undergone has been 
very great,.both vertically and laterally, and the remnants left of them 
MJft'ia various- places of such trifling thickness that all traces of their 
former eristence will soon be effaced. They show most in the western 
fart. of South. Travancore where they form small plateaus, which are well 
marked except to the north, on which side they lap on to the rising 
surface o£ the gneiss and thin out or are lost sight of in the Kabuk or 
p8eudo4at6rite formation — a rock resulting from the decomposition of 
ferruginous beds of gneiss. The surface of the plateaus, where not 
greatly eroded, is gently undulating and often supports a very dense and 
varied vegetation. The less compact portions of plateau surfaces are 
often cut into small, but very deep, rain gullies which render many places 
impassable for any but foot passengei-s. 

The various geological formations to be found in Travancore may, for 
convenience of reference, be arranged in a tabular scheme as below : — 

/"Blown sands: the red (teris) and the white (coast dunes). 
Becent. - Soils : Kankar deposits : ferruginous breccias (lateritic). 

[Marine and estuarine beds. 

Sands and clays: the Quilon beds which are supposed to 

be of eocene age ; overlapping these lie the Varkala beds 

which perhaps belong to the upper tertiary age (Cuddalore 


Assoic; Grneissic Series. 

Tbe GneiSSiC Series- " The gneisses are generally of the massive gi'oy 
section of the series, that is, they are nearest to the rocks of the Nilgiris, though they 
differ from them in being coarse-grained or more largely crystallized, and in heing 
generally quMrtzose rocks. So quartzose are they, that there are, locally, frequent 
thin beds of nearly pure quartz rock which are at times very like reefs of vein-quartz. 
Gftett these beds are strongly felspathic, the felspar occurring among the quartz in 
distmgotshable grains or larger crystalline masses, giving the rock rather a granitic 
appearance. The only other region where I know of somewhat similar beds of 
quartz rock occurring with other gneisses is in the schistose region of the 
Nellore District. There, however, the quartz rock becomes often a line compact 
quartzite ; here in Travancore, there are no approaches to such compact forms. 


84 Travanxoi^e Manual. [Chap. 

'* The common pieis^es are felspathic qiiartzofto varieties of white or grey 
colours, ver>* largely charged with garnets. A particular fonn of them is an 
exceedingly tough, hut largely crystallized, dark-grey or greenish felspathic rock. 
Massive horn-hlendic gneisses are not common. Indeed horn-blende maybe said 
to he a comparatively rare constituent of the Travancore gneisses. 

** All the gneisses are more or less charged with titaniferous iron in minute 
grains ; they are likewise — only more visibly — as a rule, highly gametiferous. In 
fact, one might say that Travancore is essentially a country of gametiferous 
gneisses. The garnets themselves are only locally obtainable, it being impossi- 
ble to break them from the living rock while they are generally decomposed or 
weatliered. They are generally of small size, but are very rich in colour, the 
precious garnet being very common. Other minerals such as red, blue and yel- 
low sapphire and jacinth, arc found among the garnet sands so common on the 
seashore at certain places. The sea-sands are also full of titaniferous iron grain. 
I may instance the l^eautiful and long known constitution of the shore sands at 
Cape Comorin where, on the beach, may be seen the strongest coloured streaks 
or ribbons, of good width, of bright, scarlet, black, purple, yellow and white sands 
of all these minerals and tlie ordinary siHca. 

" The general lie of the gneisses is in two or three parallel folds striking west- 
north-west to east-south-east. There is, perhaps, rather a tendency of the strike 
more to the northward in the broad part of the hills about Peermad, and on 
towards th? Cochin territory. Thus between Trivandrum and Tinnevelly on 
I lie west coast or for some twelve to twenty miles inland, the dip is high to the 
F;oulh -south-west inland of the terraced or plateau country, or among the first 
parall(»l lidges there is a north-north-east dip ; then, on the mountain zone, there 
is again a high dip generally to the south-south-west. Thus the inclination of 
the beds is generally high, right across the strike with a crushed-up condition 
of the folds; but they are often at a low angle, and the anticlinal on the western, 
the synclinal on tlie eastern, side are plainly distinguishable. About Kiurtallam 
(Courtallum), on the Tinnevelly side, the rise up from the synclinal is very well 
displayed, and in their strike west-north-westward into a broad mountain land, 
the beds of this place clearly take part in a further great anticlinal which is 
displayed in a great flat arch of the Peermad strata. With this widening out 
of the mountain mass there is rather an easier lie of the strata. Southwards 
from the Ariankow traverse therci is much crushing up of the l)eds; but they 
roll out flatter again towards the southern extremity, and there are good indi- 
cations of a further synclinal to the south-south-west in the northerly low- 
dipping beds of Cape Comorin. 

•' Foliation is very strongly developed : indeed it is here, practically, bedding 
and lamination, of which tliere are some wonderful exhibitions.* At Cape 
Comorin, indeed, some of the gneiss in its weathered condition (not lateritized) 
is scarcely to be distinguished, at first, from good thick-bedded and laminated 
sandstones and flagg}' sandstones. 

•• There is no special development of igneous rocks either in the way of 
graintes oi* greenstones, though small veins and dykes are common, generally 
running nearly with the strike of the gneiss. In South Travancore, or north of 
the jKuallel of Tiivandrum, there are stronger occun^ences of granite in which 
mica is abundant and in largish masses. 

•• The great feature alx)ut the gneisses in Travancore and indeed also in Cochin 
and Malabar, is their extraordinary tendency to weather or decompose, generally 

L ] Geology. 35 

into white, yellow, or reddish felspathic clayey rocks, which, in many placo;^ and 
often very extensively, ultimately heconie wliat is here ahvays called hit^'rife, 

Very soon after one hegins to leave the higlierribsof the mountains 

and to enter on the first long slopes leading down to tlie low coimtry, the gneiss 
begins to be weathered for some depth into a clayey rock, generally of pal(i 
colours, streaked and veined with ferruginous matter, and having always an 
appreciable upper surface of scabrous or pisolitic brown iron clay, which is, of 
course, probably largely the result of feiTuginous wash, and less so, of ferruginous 
infiltration. Also the feri'uginous and lateritoid character is devolved to a certain 
extent according to the composition of the gneisses ; but, on the whole, there is no 
doubt that the upper surface generally over large areas is lateritized to a certain 
depth irrespective of the varying constitution of the strata. Then as the rocks 
are followed or crossed westward the alteration becomes more frequent, decided, 
and deeper-seated ; though still, all over the lield, ridges, humps, and bosses of 
the living rock rise up from the surrounding more or less decomposed low-lying 
rock areas. 

" This generally iiTegular and fitfully altered condition of tlie gneisses begins at 
an elevation of about four hundred feet above the sea, and thus it extends as a sort 
of fringe of varying width along the low slopes of the mountains. At a yet lower 
level, say from two hundred to one hundred and fifty feet, and so nearer the sea 
coast, there is a better defined belt of more decidedly late.ritized form of weathered 
gneiss, in which the unaltered rock occurs less frequently, and then always in 
more or less flatly rounded humps and masses, which never rise above a general 
dead level. This Ijelt is, in fact, a country of undulating downs or tolerably 
uniform level stretches of forest land. Occasionally, italsosliows a plateau surface 
or it is broken into small and low flat-topped hills. Always it is vejy deeply in- 
dented by river or stream valleys, or even by some of the backwaters which 
have high and steep shores. 

" It is remarkable of this coastal belt of countiy that its laterite (an altered 
or femiginously infiltrated condition of weathered or decomposed gneiss} is not 
to be distinguished from any other laterite, except that wliich is made up of 
obviously detrital material. Whatever the laterite of Travancore or Malabar may 
have been originally, it is a useless form of the rock, being crumbly and soft as a 
general rule, and oftener of a red colour than l^iown. The charjictLM* of the 
climate does, in fact, appear to militate against the changing of the w^} pjroxido 
of iron in the rock to the brown peroxide, during which change the proper 
cementing and hardening of the sound rock, such as that on the east coast oi* iu 
the Deccan is evidently brought about."" 

Regarding South Travancore, Mr. Bruce Foote writes : — ■ 

"In no part of the peninsula, is there a greater and finer dis])lay of tin 
ancient crystalline rocks than in the southern Ghauts in their soutiiern halt, 
and in the great spurs and outlying masses on their western or southern sid-j. 
The disposition of the beds in South Travancore shows the existence of a grea'i 
synclinal curve, probably an ellipse, the major axis of which passes through or 
Very near to the great mass of Mahendragiri ; while the north-western focus (if 
the ellipse be a complete one) will be foimd somewhere to the north-eastw^ard of 
Allepy. I had inferred the existence of this great synclinal ellipse from study- 
ing the course of the great gneiss beds on the eastern foot and flanks of the 
mountains southward of Courtallum, and Mr. King's examination of the gneiss 

• Crononil Sketch of tlio CJt'ulu;,'y of Tmvaii'.-oiv. W, Kin^r u A.. t». >je. Kei-onU of 
tUu Goolojficul J?urvoy of India, Vol. XV. 

S6 Tbavancore Manual. [Chap. 

country acioss the Sliencotta pass and southward to Travancore independently 
(Itnionstriited the existence of the central part of this huge synclinal fold. The 
topograpliical sliape of the ^'round points strongly to the fold being a true ell^se, 
the extreme Jiorth -western extremity of which is probably hidden under the 
alluvial bed north of Allepy, while the extreme south-eastern apex lies most 
likely in the sea to the E. N. E. of Cai>e Comorin. The curve of the coftst from 
Cape Comorin north-westward to close up to Trivandrum coincides with ihe 
south side of the great synclinal, and the different ridges inland also coineide 
absolutely with the strike of the harder beds of the series. Several southerly 
dips were noted in the rocks on the coast westward of Kolachel which looks as 
if the axis of an anticlinal had there been exposed, but they may possibly only 
represent trifling vandyke-shaped bends or crumples, in the side of the great 
synclinal. To the north of the area under consideration the rocks roll over 
northward into a great anticHnal foKl. 

'' The true bedding of the gneiss on a large scale is extremely well displayed 
inthegieat outlying mass known as the Udagiri or * Muroovattoor ' mountain. 
Both Flrike and dip are admirably seen from the Travellers* bangalow at Nagar- 
koil. One of the finest examples of a sheer naked wall of rock to be seen in 
Southern India is shown in the tremendous cliff forming the south-east front of 
the Thiruvana Malai, the great eastern spur of Mahendragiri. This bare' precipice 
must be fully 2,000 feet or more in height, many hundred feet in the central part 
being absolutely vertical, or even overhanging a little. As might be expected, 
this great mass has aitracted much notice; it forms the Cape Comorin oi some 
sailors, and of Daniel's famous view of that Cape, though in reality some 16 
miles from the nearest point on the coast and 2H miles from the Cape itself. 
Even the Hindu mind has connected this noble mountain with the name of 
Hanuman, the famous monkey God, who is said to have planted one foot on each 
of the two peaks and to have jumped across the Clulf of Mannar and alighted 
on Adam':'» Peak, a standing jump of 220 miles and odd being a trifle for the 
long-tailed divinity. Anotlier grand precipice occurs on the south-east face 
of the Taduga ^lalai at the western end of the Arambuli Pass. The cliff-faces 
in both these splendid scarps coincide with the great planes of jointing. 

" The predominant character of the gneiss rocks in this quarter is that of 
well-bedded, massive, (luartzo-felspathic gi'anite gneiss, with a verj' variable 
quantity of (generally black) mica and very numerous small red or pinkish 
garnets. This is the characteiistic rock at Cape Comorin and veiy generally 
throughout South Travancore, and Tinnevelly District as well. 

*' Scattered grains of magnetic iron are commonly met with in the weathered 
rocks. No beds of magnetic iron were noted by mo, but some may very likely 
occur, and would go far to account for the numerous quantity of black magnetite 
sand cast up on the beach at frequent intervals along the coast and of which 
the source is at jjresent unknown, unless it has been brought by the- south- 
westerly current prevailing duiing the south-west monsoon. The som*ce of the 
garnets which form the ciimson sand which is of nearly equally common 
occunmce, is not far to seek, for it is hardly possible to find a l)ed of rock which 
do3s not abound in garnets. The so called 'fossil-rice* found at the extreme pdint 
of land close to the Ca])e is merely a local variation of the quartz grains set free by 
degi-adation of the rock. They assume the 'rice' shape after undergoing partial 
trituration in the heavy surf which beats incessantly on the southern coast. 

*' The sub-aerial decomposition of the felspatho-ferruginous varieties 
of the gneiss produces in the presence of much iron a pseudo-latcrit« 

I] Geology. S1 

rock very largely developed over the gneissic area described by Dr. King 
in his Sketch of the Geology of Travancore under the name of lateri- 
tised gneiss, a rock which is popularly called laterite in Travancore and 
Eabuk in Ceylon. In numberless places this peculiar decomposition of the 
gneiss, which is preeminently characteristic of very moist climates, has altered 
'the rook %n ntu to variable but often considerable depths, and the original 
quartz laminae of the gneiss remain in their pristine position, and often to all 
appearance unaltered, enclosed in a feiTuginous argillacious mass formed by the 
afteralion of the original felspar, mica, garnets and magnetic iron. The colour of 
this generally soft mass varies exceedingly from pale whitish pink to purple, red 
and many shades of reddish brown and brown, according to the percentage of 
iron and the degree of oxidation the iron has undergone. The bright colours 
are seen in the freshly exposed Kabuk or pseudo-laterite, but the mass becomes 
dal^er and mostly much harder as the haematite is converted into limonite by 
hydration, and more ferruginous matter is deposited, as very frequently happens, 
by infiltration. The pseudo-laterite formed by accumulation of decomposing 
argillo-ferruginous materials derived from distant points is to be distinguished 
generally by the absence of the quartz laminae as such. The quartz grains are 
generally much smaller, and are scattered generally through the whole mass of 
• new-formed rock. One excellent example of the pseudo-laterite formed by the 
decomposition in situ is to be seen in a steep bank in the Zoological gardens in 
Trivanarum, close to the Tapir's den. Equally good examples are very common 
in many of the cuttings along the high road east of Trivandrum. 

" The washed-down form of pseudo-laterite often forms a rock intermediate in 
character between a true sub-aerial deposit and a true sedimentary one, and con- 
-seqnently by no means easy to classify properly. In fact, in a country subject 
to such a tremendous rainfall, the sub-aerial rocks must, here and there, 
graduate into sedimentary ones through a form which may be called *Pluvio- 
detrital.' Such pluvio-detrital forms occur very largely in South Travancore, 
but it is impossible in most cases to separate them from the true sedimentary for- 
mations they are in contact with."* 

TheVarkalaor Cuddalore Sandstone Series— To quote Dr. 
King again : — 

"The next succeeding rock foimations, namely, the Quilon and Warkilli beds, 
occur as a very small patch on the coast between the Quilon and Anjcngo back- 
waters. The Quilon beds are only known through the researches of the late General 
Cullen who found them cropping out at the base of the low laterite clifts edging 
the backwater of that place, and again in wells which he had dug or deepened 
for the purpose. I was myself not able to find a trace of themf. 
They are said to be argillaceous limestones, or a kind of dolomite in which a 
marine fauna of univalve shells having a eocene fncics was found ; and they 
occur at about forty feet below the laterite of Quilon, which is really the upper 
part of the next group. 

" The WarkilH beds, on the other hand, are clearly seen in the cliffs edging the 
seashore some twelve miles south of Quilon, where they attain a thickness 
of about one hundred and eighty feet, and have the following succession in 
descending order : — 

• Records of the Geological Survey of India, Vol. XVI. 

t Mr. Logan says that these have since been satisfactorily idcutiHod as occurring at a placo 
called Varappakkara on tbe (^nilou Ixickwatcr about 04 miles nQi*th-oast of the 

38 Thavancore MA^a^vL. [Chap. 

Laterite (with sandstone masses). 

Sandy clays (lithomarge ). 

Sandy clays ( with sandstone bands ). 

Alum clays. 

Lignite beds with logs of wood &c. ). 

" The bottom lignite beds rest on loose whito sand, and nothing is known 
of any lower strata. 

" It will ])e seen how this set of strata has an upper portion, or capping of 
laterite, which is however clearly detrital. On the landward edge of the field 
of those Waikilli beds, there is in places only a thin skin, representative of these 
upper beds, of lateritic giits and sandstones lying directly on the gneiss, which is 
itself also lateritized ; and it is very hard as may )x) supposed, to distinguish 
the boundary between the two unless the detrital character of the former deposits 
is well displayed. Thus the upper part of the formation has overlapped the 
gneiss. It is also this upper portion which overlies the Quilon beds, which arc 
also apparently overlapped. 

" These Warkilli beds constitute, for so much of the coast, the seaward edge 
of the plateau or ten-aced country above described, and they present similar 
features. The Warkilli downs are a featm-e of the countiy— bare, grass-gro^^Ti, 
long, fiat undulations of laterite, with, about Warkilli itself, small plateau hills 
forming the higher gi'ound — one hundred and eighty to two hundred feet above the 
sea. These downs, too, and the small plateaus or fiat-topped hills, are partly of 
the Warkilli laterite and partly of the lateritoid gneiss. 

*' Whatever form of denudation may have produced the now much- worn ter- 
race of the gneissic portion of the country, the same also had determined the 
general surface of the W^arkilli beds. Indeed, it gradually dawned on me while 
surveying this country, having the remembrance of what I had seen of the 
plateaus and terraced low lands in Malabar in previous yeai's, that here, clearly, 
on this western side of India is an old marine teiTace which must l)e of later 
date than the Warkilli beds. These are, as I have endeavoured to show in 
another paper," of probably upper tertiary age and equivalent of the 
Cuddalore sandstones of the Coromandel. Hence this terrace must be late 
tertiaiy or post-pliocene, and it marks, like the long stretches of laterite and sand- 
stones on the eastern side of the country, the last great or decided elevation of 
Southern India, prior to which, as is very probable, the Indian land rose almost 
directly from the sea by its Western Ghauts and had an eastern shore hne which 
is now indicated very well by the inner edge of the Tanjore, South Arcot, Madi'as, 
Nellore and Godaveri belts of laterite and sandstone. 

" Mr. Foote has already generalised in this way for the eastern side of 
Southern India in particular ; but I think he makes the elevation too great, in- 
cluding, as he does in his laterite deposits, patches of the laterite gravels and 
rock masses ranging up to a height of live hundred feet at least w-hich are not 
so definitely part and parcel of the proper coastal developments." 

The following account of the Cuddalore Sandstone series, maiine beds, 
blown sands, coral reefs and soils is extracted from the very exhaustive 
paper on The Geology of South Travancore by Mr. Bruce Foote from 
which we have already quoted : — 

*Tlic Warkilli bcda uud reported ji««uciatud dejiosits at (Juiloii — Kecords of tlic Geological 
fcJiirvcv of ludia, Vol. XV. 

L ] Geology. SO 

" A very careful examination of the beds near Quilon by Dr. King who had 
the advantage of seeing the fresh cuttings made through plateaus of these rocks 
in connection with the new tunnel at Warkilli has unfortunately thrown no 
pofiitive light on their true geological position. The vegetable remains associated 
with lignite beds at base of the series proved insufficient to allow of determi- 
nation of their own character and consequently most unsuitable to assist in 
settling the homotaxy of the strata they occurred in. The sedimentary beds 
forming the belt of small plateau fringing the coast of South Travancore must, on 
petrological grounds, be unhesitatingly regarded as extensions of the Quilon beds, 
or Warkilli beds of Dr. King. None of these formations which I traced from 
Villinjam, nine miles south-east of Trivandrum, down to Cape Comorin afforded 
the faintest trace of an organic body ; thus no light was thrown on the question 
of the geological age or homotaxy, but somewhat similar sandstones and grits are 
found on the Tinnevelly side of the extreme south end of the Ghauts range, and 
in a coarse gritty sandstone, much resembling some of the beds in Travancore, a 
bed of clay is intercalated, in which occur numerous specimens of Arco-nigom and 
Cyiherea of a living species. The locality where these fossils of recent species 
were foimd occurs on the right bank of the Nambi-ar, about two miles above its 
mouth and a few hundred yards from the bank of the main stream. All the sub- 
fossil shells I found here are of living species ; hence the deposits enclosing them 
cannot be regarded as tertiary' ; and if the agreement of these Nainbi-ar beds with 
the Warkilli and South Travancore beds, on the one hand, and the Cuddalore, 
Madras, and Kajamundry beds be assumed, as they must ])e on petrological 
grounds, the Cuddalore sandstones and their equivalents elsewhere must be 
accepted as of post-tertiary age. As far as it goes the evidence is clear and 
distinct ; but more evidence is required as to the age of some of the intermediate 
connecting beds, such as those south and east of Kudankulam. 

" The typical section of the WarkilU Eocks near Quilon, given by Dr. King 
shows the following series : — 

Laterite ... ... ... 30 to 40 feet. 

Sands and sandy clays or hthomarge 58 „ 

Alum clays ... ... ... 25 „ 

Lignite beds ... ... ... 7 to 15 „ 

Sands ... ... ... ... ,, ,, ,, 

Total ... 120 — 138 

with which we may compare the series seen in the fine section formed by the 
beautiful chfts in Karruchel bay, 11 miles south-east of Trivandrum. 

" The section here exposed shows the following series of formations : — 

4. Soil — dark red, sandy loam, lateritic at base — 8 to 10 feet. 

3. Sandstone — ^hard, gritty, purplish or blackish — '? 

2. Sandstone — gritty, rather soft, false-bedded, often clayey in parts (litho- 
margic), variegated; in colour red, reddish brown pui^plish white 
yellow— 40 to 50 feet. 

1. Sandstone — ^gritty, rather soft, false-bedded, red, pui-ple, pink, white, 
variegated ; shows many white clay galls producing conglomeratic 
appearance in section — 40 feet. 

Base not seen, hidden by sandy beach. 

«* The total thickness of these beds I estimated at about 100 feet ; the upper 

40 Travancore Manual. [Chae. 

part is obscure, from pluvial action washing down the red soil over the dark 
grits. The middle and lower parts of the section are extremely distinct, and: the 
colouring of the beds very vivid and beautiful; but the bed« are by no: moans, 
sharply defined. 

*^ The beds dip north-easterly (inland), and from the slope of the goound (mi 
the top of the cuff the angle of dip may be inferred to be from 20? to* 80?,. 
Further inland, near Pinnacolum, the dark gritty sandstones lie horiaontally, 9k 
a considerably lower level than at the top of the Earruchel clifiSi. but riae^ agfixv 
to the eastward. The middle gritty series is exposed along the western* aide ot 
the Karruchel lagoon, but is highly, lateritised by weather action. Three- milaflroDflo 
to the north of the lagoon, purplish gritty beds show strongly and form a amaiL 
well-marked plateau overlooking the valley in which Hes the village of Cottukal^. 
That the gritty beds are sometimes replaced by clays is shown* by the materials 
turned out of two deep wells sunk into the plateau at two points several' milea 
apart ; one of these wells lies rather more than half a mile to the northwacd ot 
MuUur. Here the section, which is from 80 to 100 feet deep passea through 
mottled gritty sandstone and into blue and white mottled clay. The other aec* 
tion revealing clays below the gritty beds is a well sunk close to. the new. soadf 
from Valrampur to Puvai*. 

''A section in the low cliff forming the small bay immediately eaat o£ 
Villinjam shows a mottled venniculated clayey rock showing mostly no bedding 
at all. Traces of bedding are, however, revealed as the cliff is followed south- 
ward by the appearance of thin bands of grit near the base of the section which 
rests on the underlined quartzo-felspathic garnetiferous gneiss. This mottled clayey, 
rock I believe to represent the bluish white mottled clay turned out of tiie lower 
parts of the well section near MuUur before referred to. It is locally consider- 
ably discoloured and stained by the percolation of water through the overlying 
pseudo-lateritic dark-red sand. As will be seen by any one who follows the ooaat 
line these Warkilli sandstones rest upon a very rugged and broken gneiss 
surface. Many great tors and knolls of granite gneiss protrude through the 
sandstone plateau or tower over them from adjacent higher ridges, which 
have been completely denuded of the younger rocks. 

** The greater part of the sm*faee of the tract occupied by these Warkilli beds 
west of the Neyar is thickly covered by sandy loam, generally of dark red colour, 
which conceals the sub-rock very effectually, excepting where the loam is deeply 
eroded. A well marked patch of purplish grit forms a knoll, about a mile south- 
west of Valrampur. Traces of the former more easterly extension of these beds 
are to be seen at intervals along and to the north of the Trivandrum-Tinnevelly 
road between Valrampur and Neyatankarai. 

" In the tract lying east of the Neyar few sections exhibiting the grits &c., 
were met with, and all were small and unsatisfactory'. The surface of the country 
is either largely covered with the deep red soil or else the extremely broken 
surface of the gritty beds is extensively lateritised. The appearajice of the 
country, when seen from elevated points is, however, characteristically very 
different from the gneiss and Kabuk tract lying to the northward. This may be 
well seen from Colatoor Trigonometrical station hill, as also from the high ground 
close to Cauracode, but yet more striking from the Kodalam Pothai, a hill 2 miles 
west-north-west of Paurashalay. Sections in which the fine character of the rock 
is to be seen occur on the high ground close to the junction of the new roads 
leading from Puvar and Martanda Putentorai respectively to Paurashalay, alao 
to the southward near Shoolaul, where a large rain gully cuts deeply into the 
grits and underlying clayey beds ; also along the ridge of high gnmnd north and 

IJ Geology. 41 

north-east of Yeldasaput. Traces of the former eastward extension of the gritfi 
were noted on the eastern flank of the Kodalam Pothai and on high ground balf 
a Qiile or so to the northwa'-d of theCutcherry at Paui*asha)ay. The heds com- 
posing this patch of WarkiJU rocks have undergone greater superficial denudation 
Iban those m the Karruchel patch to the north-wect. 

"In the small patch lying east of the Kulitorai river some instructive 
sections of hard rock grits and underlying clayey grits of the usual, reddish, 
tdnish, and white mottled colour are to be seen south of Killiur. Some of the 
sections show regular miniature * canons ' 15' to 20' deep, with vertical sides 
and numerous well-formed pot-holes. Hard purplish grits show on the surface 
between Killiur and Pudukaddi and soft mottled grits in a weU section 
dose east of the D. P. W. bangalow at Tengapatnam. At the southernmost 
point of Killiur patch, the grits become coarsely conglomeratic over a small 
area. A little to the north of thi<5the grits, when resting on the basset edge of a bed 
of granular quartz rock, present the characters of a perfect arkose, made up of 
the angular gneiss debris. In places this arkose might be most easily mistaken 
for a granitic rock. 

" A distinctly conglomeratic character is shown by the grit beds' close to 
liadalam. This Madalam patch of Warkilli sandstones is on its southern side deeply 
cut into by a gully which exposes regular cliffs with from 35 to 40 feet of coarse 
or conglomeratic mottled grits, capped by thick red soil. The grits contain many 
large clay galls and Imnps of blue or mottled colour. 

•* In the Kolachel patch the grits are extremely well exposed in deep cut- 
tings (miniature canons) made by the stream rising just west of Neyur. They 
are of the usual mottled description. Where seen at the eastern side of the patch 
near the Eranil Cubaherry they are quite conglomeratic. They are exposed also 
in a gu'ly crossing the road which runs north from Kolachel to join the main 
road, and in a well section on the high ground a mile north-eastward of the 
little town. The south-eastern part of the patch is entirely obscured by a great 
thickness of dark red soil. They peep out, however, below^ the red soil at the 
western end of the great tank 3 miles south of Eranil. 

** A very thin bed of conglomeratic grit underlies the teri, or red sand-hill, 
capping the high ground north of the Muttum headland. Further east a few 
poor sections only of whitish or mottled grit prove the extension of the Warkilli 
beds in that direction, nor are they well seen again tiU close into Kotar, where 
they show in various wells and tanks, but are still better seen in a deep rain 
gully south of the Travellers' bangalow at Nagarkoil and in a broad cutting imme- 
diately to the east of the bangalow. The variegated gritty sandstones here seen 
are very characteristic, and strongly resemble some of the tj^pical varieties in 
South Arcot and Madras districts. 

'' To the south of Kotar the grits are to be seen in stream beds opening to 
the Purrakay tank, and in a series of deep rain gullies on the eastern slope of a 
large red soil plateau to the south-west of Purrakay. 

" A small patch of gritty sandstones of similiar character to the above occurs 
immediately north and north-west of Cape Comorin. As a rule, they are badly 
exposed, being much masked by the red blown sand of a small teri. The most 
accessible section is a small one seen in the bottom of a good sized bowrie, a 
little south of the junction of the roads coining from Trevandrum and Palam- 
cotta. This section can only be seen when the w^ater in the bowrie is low. 
A considerable spread of similar greyish or slightly mottled grits is 
exposed about half a mile to the north-east of Covacolum and 1^ miles 
north-west of the Cape. Lying between the two exposures just mentioned, 


42 Travaxcore Manual. [Chap. 

but separated from either by spreads of blown sand, is a different looking 
vermiculated mottled grit of much softer character. This is extensively 
exposed in the banks of a nullah and head water guUies falling into the 
Agusteshwar. The colour of this soft grit ranges from red, through buff to 
whitish. The beds roll to the northw^ard. This grit is full of vermicular 
cavities filled with white or reddish Kankar (impure carbonate of Hme). The 
grit seems to graduate upward into a thick red gritty soil full of small 
whitish red, impure (gritty) calcareous concretions. There is good reason, how- 
ever, for thinking that this graduation is merely apparent, and that the red gritty 
8oil is only the loase of a red sand-hill, or teri, undergoing change by percolatiou 
of calciferous water. A hard brown grit is exposed for a few square yards just 
north of the junction of the two roads above refen*ed to. This rook has, except 
in colours, considerable resemblance to the red-white grit just described, and both 
probably overlie the pale mottled grits near Covacolum. 

" The last patch of grits to be mentioned forms almost the extreme easterly 
angle of the Travancore territory and lies to the eastward of the southernmost 
group of hills and along its base. Not many sections of the grit are here eXi- 
posed owing to a thick red soil formation w^hich laps round the base of the hills, 
and is only cut through here and there by a deep rain gully or a w^ell. The grits 
here seen are hke those exposed near the Travellers* bangalow at Nagarkoil; 
but show much more bedding and are almost shaly in parts. The colour of the 
grit is white, pale drab or grey mottled with red and brown in various shades. 
They lie in depressions in the gneiss, and were either always of much less im- 
portance and thickness than the beds to the west, or else have been denuded to 
a far greater extent. They are best seen in gullies to the south-west and west 
of Russhun Kristaapur, 7 miles north of Capo Comorin, and in the beds of the 
small nullahs west and north-west of Comaravarum opposite the mouth of the 
Arambuli pass. None of these WarkiUi grit beds occumng between Trevan- 
drum and Cape Comorin have yielded any organic remains as far as my research 
has gone, and I fear none will be obtained by subsequent explorers. The alum 
shales occurring in Dr. King's Warkilli section have not been traced in South 
Travancore, and I had not the good fortune to come across any lignite. It is 
said to occur not unfrequently to the south of Kolachel, and to be turned up by 
the people when ploughing their fields. I have no reason to doubt this, for it 
is extremely probable tiiat some of the clayey beds should contain lignite. 
From the configuration of the ground, too, the paddy flat along the southern 
boundary of the Kolachel grit patch would coincide in position with some of the 
clayey beds near the base of the series which are lignitiferous at Warkilli ; and 
why not at Kolachel ? 

** The recent discovery of lignite in the Cuddalore sandstones at Pondicherry 
adds greatly to the probal^ility of the correctness of Dr. King's and my conclu- 
sion (aiTived at by us separtely and independently before we had an opportunity 
of comparing notes) that this gritty bed in Tinnevelly and Travancore should be 
regarded on the grounds of petrological resemblance and identity of geographical 
position as equivalents of the Cuddalore sandstones of the Coromandel Coast. 

Marine Beds. — " At Cape Comorin and two other places along the 
coast to the northward are formations of small extent but very considerable 
interest, which, by their mineral constitution and by the abundance of fossil 
marine shells they enclose, show themselves to be of marine origin, and thus 
prove that the coast line of the Peninsula lias undergone some little upheaval 
since they were deposited. These beds are to be seen close to the Cape at the 
base of a small cliff which occurs immediately south of the Residency bangalow 
and only about two hundred yards west of the Cape itself. The rocks seen in 

i.] Geology. 43 

the surf and immediately behind it on the beach are all ^(neiss. The base of the 
small cliff is composed of friable gritty calcareous sandstone, full of comminuted 
shells. The base was not exposed at the time I examined the section, some 
heavy gale having piled up the beach sand against the foot of the cliff, and for 
this reason it was impossible to trace the probable connection of the sandstone 
with another exposed at a slightly lower level at a few yards distance to the 
west. This lower bed is similar in mineral character, but very hard and tough, 
and offers great resistance to the surf but has nevertheless been deeply 
honeycombed and in places quite undermined. The roofs of the miniature 
caves thus formed have in some cases fallen in, but have been partly re- 
cemented^ by deposition of the calcareous matter in the lines of fracture. 
To return to the cliff section, the basement sandstone is overlaid by a similar 
but slightly harder yellowish friable bed, which contains many unbroken 
shells ( all of li\'ing species ), in addition to a great quantity of comminuted 
ones. The base of the lower bed is hidden by sands, but from the proximity 
of the gneiss it cannot exceed 5 or 6 feet in thickness, while the overlying 
shelly bed measures about the same. It is overlaid in its turn by a massive 
bed, 6 to 10 feet thick locally, of a kind of travertine formed of altered blown 
sand, composed mainly of fully comminuted shells. This travertine contains 
immense numbers of shells and casts of Helix vltfaiaj the commonest land shell 
in the south. Owing to the soft character of the marine sandstones, tlie cliff 
has been much undermined by the tremendous surf w^hich breaks on this coast 
in bad weather, and great masses of the hard travertine of the Helix bad have 
fallen on to the beach, forming a partial breakwater against the inroads of 
the sea. 

'* The shells contained in the upper sandstone bed were all found 
to be of living species, where suSiciently well preserved for specific 
identification; the majority of the specimens are too ill preserved for 
specific identification. Four miles north-north-east from the Cape, stands the 
little stone-built fort of Wattakotai, which is built upon a small patch of cal- 
careous sandstone, full of marine shells, exposed in the most along the 
north face of the long curtain wall which joins Wattakotai fort with the exten- 
sive series of fortifications known as * Travancore lines ' . The marine lime- 
stone may be traced for nearly half a mile inland in the bottom of the moat. 
This marine bed is overlaid by a very thin bed ot travertine limestone full of 
Helix vittata; it has been cut through in the formation of the moat. Tiie thick- 
ness of the shelly marine bed is unknown, but the Helix bed is not seen to ex- 
ceed 10 " or 1 ' in thickness. As far as seen in the very small exposure, both 
formations lie nearly horizontally. Another small exposure of the marine bed 
occurs at the western end of a little backwater to the north of the fort. The 
sandstone here contains many well-preserved marine shells, all of living species ; 
but further west, where the bed is exposed below the Helix bed in the moat, the 
enclosed shells are all broken and comminuted. The surface of sandstone, as 
seen at the end of the little backwater, is raised but a very little distance above 
the sea-level, probably not more than 4 or 5 feet at the outside. The rise of the 
ground along the moat is extremely small, and even at the furthest point from 
the sea at which the sandstones are exposed the elevation is probably not more 
than 10 or 12 feet at most, which would correspond with the top of the sand- 
stones as seen in the little cliff at Cape Comorin. 

" About two miles north-east-by-north of Wattakotai fort a small patch of 
white shelly limestone occurs peeping out of the low bait of blown sand which 
fringes the coast at that spot. The village of Kannakapur which lies immediately 
to the north is the last within the Travancore boundary. The limestone only 

44 T«AVANCDRE Manual. [Cha*. 

stands out a few inches above the surface of the siurounding sands, and no sec- 
tion could be found to ebow its ibickne&s, but in point of elevation above the sea- 
level it agrees perfectly with the Waitakotai and Cape Comorin beds. The lime- 
stone which is fainy hard is quarried for economic purposes, and unless a good 
deal more of ihe bed than now^ meets the eye remains hidden under the sands, it 
will, before many yeavs are over, have been removed by human agency. 

*• The shell remains occur as impressions and casts of great beauty and per- 
fectness, but the shelly matter has disappeared entirely, being probably sligntly 
more soluble than the enclosing limestone. The limestone contains a large num- 
ber of sp3cimens of Helix litU fa which were evidently carried out to sea and 
there entombed in a shallow water formation. To any one who has noticed the 
enormous numbers of this He)':; I'ving )i\ ibis neighbovbood, and in the southern 
districts geneially, the la:"ge numbers of it occurilng fossil in this maiine bed 
will be a matter of no suipilce. 

Blown Sands.— "Two very marked varieties of iEolian rocks occur 
along or near the coast of South Travancore, as well as along that of Tinnevelly. 
They are the red sands, forming the well-known teris of Tinnevelly, where they 
are developed on a far lai'ger scale, and the white sands forming the coast dunes. 
In South Travancore, as far as my observation went, the red sand hills are no 
longer forming ; all are undergoing the process of degradation by atmospheric 
agencies at various rates of speed. The red sands have in many places ceased to 
yield to the influence of the winds and have arrived at a condition of fixity and 
compaction caused by the action of rain falling upon the loose sands percolating 
through them and during heavy show^ers flowing over their surfaces and washing 
the lighter clayey and smaller, though heavier, ferruginous particles down the 
slopes ot the hills or into hollows on the surface, where, on drjdng, a fairly hard, 
often slightly glazed, surface of dark red loam has been formed. This loam is 
very fairly fertile and soon becomes covered with vegetation, which fiuiiher tends 
to bind the mass together and render the surface secure from wind action. The 
loose sand, deprived of the clayey and finer ferruginous particles, would, unless 
unusually coarse in grain, be carried off by high winds elsewhere or remain in 
barren patches on the surface. I believe this process has gone on extensively 
over many parts of South Travancore, and explains the existence, on the siurfaoe 
of the country and resting indiscriminately on the gneiss and the younger rocks 
as the Warkilli sandstone, of 'the great thick sheets of pure red loam which have 
not been brought there by ordinary aqueous deposition nor formed in situ by the 
decomposition of the underlying rocks. The percolation of the rain water through 
the mass has in many places given rise to the formation of concretionary ferrugi- 
nous masses, which are often strongly lateritoid in their aspect. The quantitiy o£ 
clayey matter and of iron ore in the form of magnetic iron is ver}' great in the 
sand of many of the teris. The greater quantity of the water falling on the teris, 
as on their blown sand surfaces, escapes by percolation, and it is a common phe- 
nomenon to find springs issuing around the foot of the sand mass during the 
rainy season and becoming dry in the hot or rainless season. 

" The teris in South Travancore which still retain their character as accu- 
mulations of moving red sands are four in number and all very small, the largest 
not measuring one sq. mile in area. They are all close to the coast and with one 
exception stand high and conspicuous to ships passing along at a fair distance. 
The largest and most conspicuous is that at Muttum w' hich caps the high ground 
with a new lighthouse. The process of fixation has gone on here largely and 
ihe moving sands cover a much smaller space than does the fixed portion. The 
same may be said of the teri resting on the south-eastern extremity of the 
J£olachd sandstone plateau. To the north-^vest of Koluchcl are two much smallei: 

1.) Geology. 45 

tens at the distance of 3 and 5| miles respectively. In both of these also 
the area of the fixed sand far exceeds that of the loose. Especially is this the 
case in the more northerly teri near Melmadalathorai. Here the fixed part 
has undergone tremendous erosion and is traversed by long and deep rain gulUes, 
with vertical sides up to 20 or 25 feet high. Gullies on a yet larger 
scale are to be seen at the south-east corner of the Kolachel sandstone patch and 
at the eastern side of the Muttum patch. Very large but shallower gullies are 
to be seen at the south-east corner of the Nagarkoil patch, where there is a very 
large fixed teri. 

" The small teri immediately behind the Cape Comorin is a very poor 
specimen of its kind, and, in fact, hardly deserves to rank as one owing to its 
pale colour and poverty in iron sand, but it will not do to class it as a coast 
dune, as it consists mainly of silicious sand, while the true dune at the Cape 
coasists mainly of calcareous sand composed of comminuted shells, corallines, 
nullipores &c. 

" The sand of the typical teris is silicious or fenniginous (magnetic iron), the 
former being well rounded and coated with a film of red-oxide of iron, which is 
removable by boiUng in Nitric acid for a few seconds. Common as garnet sand 
is on the beaches of South Travancore, I never yet found a grain of it in the teri 
sand, where the latter was pure and had not been mixed with beach sand. 

" The coast dunes of South Travancore are, except close to the Cape, in no 
way remarkable. A large pat<;h of small hillocks to the north-west of the mouth 
of the Kulitorai river was caused by the wind shifting a great mass of sand 
turned out when the new canal was dag and heaped up on the north bank 
of the canal. 

** Some tolerably high ridges occur three miles south-west of Kolachel. The 
sand here contains so much fine magnetic iron that it looks in parts of a dark 
grey colour, shading here and there almost into absolute black. 

" A considerable quantity of blown sand fringes the coast from the Muttum 
headland eastward to Cape Comorin, and between Pullum and Culladevella 
forms some considerable hills. At Covacolum the highly calcareous beach sand 
which forms many low hillocks has been solidified in several places into coarse 
shelly limestone. The Helix bed at Cape Comorin akeady referred to, when 
treating of the Marine beds, is really an altered sand dune, the calcareous matter 
of whidi has, by percolation of acidulated water, been dissolved and re-deposited, 
on evaporation of the water, as a sub-aerial travertine. Countless thousands of 
Hdix vittata and a considerable number of shells of Nanina tmnqueharica , the 
two commonest land shells in this part of India, have been enclosed and fossil- 
ised in the formation of this travertine, which is evidently m constant progress. 
The immense wealth of shell fish of all kinds, added to large quantities of corallines 
and nullipores, incessantly thrown up by the surf, furnishes an abundant supply 
of calcareous sand for the formation of this travertine, which forms a bank more 
than a mile long and rising some 80 feet or more above the sea at its highest 
point. Its inland extent cannot be ascertained, as it is covered by loose sands. 
It probably only extends 300 to 400 yards inland and abuts against a low ridge 
of gneiss. 

Coral Reefs. — "A few tiny fringing reefs are to be seen half to three-fourths 
of a mile west of the Cape, half in the surf at low tide, and wholly in it at high 
tide. They are now to be considered as dead reefs, abandoned by the polypes 
that built them. I examined most of them carefully, without finding any live 
ooral, and was inclined to doubt the correctness of my inference, drawn from 
their tabular shape and many shallow basin-like cavities; but later on, when 

46 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

examining some identical fringing reefs off the TinneVelly coast to the south o£ 
Kudankulam Trigonometrical station (the south point of the Capo Comorin base- 
Hne), I found a considerable quantity of live coral lining the sides of the little 
basins and equally large quantities of coral quite recently dead in adjoinmg 

*' A great deal of shell debris, sand and broken stone, is included in the mass 
of the reefs which in several places have formed around masses of rock standing 
in rather shallow water, and joined up many loose blocks of stone tossed on to 
them by the surf into tremendously coarse conglomerates. Some similar reefs 
but of rather larger size, occur along the coast to the north-east of Cape Comorin ; 
in these the tabular mass extends from 10 to 40 and 50 feet in width, from the shore 
to the constantly surf-beaten outer edge. In one or two places parts of the reef 
had evidently been founded on sand, which had been washed away, leaving an 
unsupported surface of many square yards in extent which the surf of the next 
high tid3 or first gale of wind would either break up or else again support with 
sand washed under it. These little reefs are worthy of much closer examination 
than I was able to bestow upon them. 

** The coral fauna of the Cape Comorin sea is on the whole a remarkably 
poor one, as far as one may judge by what is to be found thrown up on the beach. 
Dredging might reveal much more, but unfortunately no boats are found there, 
only Kattumarams (Catamarans) which would not be the most convenient form 
of craft from which to carry on scientific observations. The sea here is, however, 
so very rich in animal life in many forms, that it could assuredly aflford a rich 
reward to any one having a suitable vessel at command. I obtained in a very 
short time, a far larger number of species of shells here than at any other place 
on the Indian Coast. 

Soils. — " The prevalent soils (of South Travancore) are red ones varying in 
the quantity of their feniiginous element. The red soils seen inland near the 
main trimk road are chiefly formed of gneissic debris by sub-aerial decomposition. 
The origin of the deep red sandy or clayey loams has already been discussed. 
They occupy no inconsiderable area. True alluvial soils occur very rarely, if at 
all, now-a-days; those which fill the bottoms of the many valleys and creeks in 
which paddy is cultivated being gi'eatly altered from their original condition by 
centuries of cultivation, and the addition of various mineral, vegetable and animal 
manures. Estuarine beds full of sub-fossil shells, Cifthercn, Fotfamides, Melania 
&c., of living species are exposed in the salt pans at the mouth of the Kolachel 

" The Alluvium in the valley of the Paleyar, which flows south from the 
west flank of Mahendi-agiri past Nagarkoil is, where pure, a coarse gritty silt.*' 

Smooth Water Anchorages. There are two anchorages on the 
Malabar Coast, knoAvn to mariners from early times. The bottom of 
these anchorages consists of a very fine, soft, unctuous mud which has 
over and over been supposed to act as a barrier against the force of the 
waves of the sea. Ships can not only ride safely in these roads, but 
they cat! also sometimes take in fresh water alongside, the sea beneath 
them being so diluted w'ith fresh water from inland sources. At times 
the smooth surface on one of the banks may be broken by huge bubble 
*' cones " as they have been called, of w^atcr or mud from the sea-bed, and 
even roots and trunks are reported to have floated up with these ebullitions. 

1] Geology. 47 

Again the banks of mud are not fixed in position but move along the 
coast within ranges of some miles in extent ; or one of them remains 
comparatively stationary while the other moves, and these movements 
do not take place year by year with the monsoons but continue over many 
years. Similar, though insignificant, patches of smooth water banks are 
found in various points along the Malabar Coast. But the best-marked 
and most generally known are those near Cochin and Alleppey. That 
near Cochin or the Narakal bank may be said to lie between Cochin and 
the Cranganore river llf miles to the north. For many years its position 
has been about the middle of the range. The Alleppey bank ranges from 
a mile or two north of Alleppey to Poracad, a distance of 12 to 15 miles. 
It is now at the southern end of this range and indeed is often called the 
Poracad mud-bank. The mud-banks lie close along the beach but extend 
some miles seaward presenting a more or less semicircular or flat cres- 
centic edge to the long rollers and tumbling waves of the monsoon weather. 

Ordinarily the sea is tolerably smooth only rolling on the shore 
with more or less of a surf, and these patches are only to be disting- 
uished by the soundings of mud below them. It is only a few days 
after the bursting of the monsoon, when the whole line is affected and 
the mud in these particular places stirred up, that the patches are disting- 
uishable. Then the muddy waters calm down and remain so for the 
rest of the monsoon. 

The mud itself is essentially characteristic and unique. It is of a de- 
cided dark green colour slightly tinged with brown, very fine in texture, 
very soft and oily feeling, altogether just like a very fine soft ointment or 
pomatum. After a time it dries and hardens, loses its oily feel and be- 
comes harsh like ordinary mud. Its oily consistency has been 
proved beyond doubt; the specimens analysed have been found to give 
oflF, when subject to distillation, some brownish yellow oily matter 
lighter than water and looking not unlike petroleum. The muds also 
contain a considerable quantity of foraminiferal and infusorial remains. 
Capt. Drury thus wrote on the origin of these banks : — 

"The origin of this deposition of so large a quantity of mud in the open sea 
about two or three miles from the shore and so many miles from any bar or 
outlet from the backwater has never been satisfactorily accounted for. From the 
siroumstance of there being no natural outlet for the vast accumulation of 
waters which are poured down from the vaiious mountain streams into the basin 
of the backwater nearer than thirty-six miles on either side, it is not impro- 
bable that there exists a subterraneous channel communication with the sea 
from the backwater through which the large quantity of mud is carried off and 
thrown up again by the sea in the form of a bank ". 

48 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

Mr. Crawford, for a long time Ccnimercial Agent at Alleppey, wa-s o{ 
opinion that the perfect smoothness cf the water in the roads and at the Allep- 
pey beach was attributable net so much to the softness of the mud at the 
bottom as to *' the existence of a subterranean passage or stream or a succes- 
sion of them which, communicating with some of the rivers inland and the 
backwater, became more active after heavy raias particularly at the com- 
mencement of the monsoon than in the dry season, in carrjring off the 
accumulating water and with it vast quantities of soft mud". He 
found that at the psiiods of deficient rain the mud-banks were less 
effective as anchorages. He also observed that after or during heavy 
rains the beach suddenly subsided, slightly at first but gradually as 
much as five feet, when a cone of mud suddenly appeared above the 
water, bursLing and throwing up immense quantities of soft soapy 
mud and blue mud of considerable consistence in the form of boulders 
with fresh water, debris of vegetable matter decayed and in some cases 
fresh and gi-een. 

Mr. Ehodes, the successor of Mr. Crawford, confirms the above observation 
and states that he has seen mud volcanoes bursting up in the sea during 
the ramy season, which appeared "as if a bairel of oil had suddenly been 
started below the surface**. He thinks that the mud thus formed is 
gradually floated away to the southward by the littoral current and fresh 
banks are foimed whenever the hydraulic pressure of the inland back- 
water iacreasf s sufficiently to overcome the subterranean resistance of the 
stratum of fluid mud which is formed at certain places; and as a further 
proof, he adduces the fact that the extent of the mud-bank at 
Alleppey increases and diminishes as the level of the inland water rises 
and falls, as was most observable in 1882.* 

The range of the coast exhibiting the phenomena is about 92 miles long 
tolerably straight, without any indentation giving the form of a bay except 
at the extreme ends, viz., at Quilon and Cranganore. There is no indication of 
a bay near Alleppey, the name * bay' having perhaps been adopted from an 
imaginary bay of smooth water enclosed within the semicircle of breakers 
outside. The shore line is straight, low lying or only a few feet above sea level 
and made up of alluvial deposits and sand. Between Alleppey backwater 

* In regard to the formation of the bank, Mr. Philip Lake of the Geological Sunrej in hii 
Note on the Mud-banka says : — " The chief point then in which I differ from previons obaervers 
is in considering that the Alleppej bank is formed not from the backwater mud bat from an 
older river deposit foand only at particalar points along the coast. This woald explain its 
non-appearance at other points where the conditions seem equally favourable. With regard 
to the existence of subterranean channels, it may well be doubted whether any could ezut ui 
such unstable deposits as are found here." 

T, ] Geology. 40 

and the sea there is no visi})lo communication, the principal rivers 
(hat enter it flowing northwards behind the range of the mud-bank. To all 
appearance the flat lands of the coast are entirely recent alluvial deposits 
consisting of layers of sand and mud overgrown with vegetation. The 
himps of blue chiy described by Mr. Crawford as turned up in the cones 
of Alleppey, answer to the lumps of clay of the lower part of the Varkala 
difife already described. Mr. Crawford also mentions his having passed 
through a crust of chocolate-coloured sandstone or a conglomerate mixture 
of the sandstone and lignite con-esponding to certain rocks at Varkala. 

It is clear that both the Alleppey and Narakal banks have practically the 
same constitution, behave similarly and have the same accompaniments 
with the exception of the violent discharges of mud or oil which are confined 
to the Alleppey bank. 

It has already been remarked that the mud of these banks is full of 
organic matter and that it contains a sensible amount of oil probably partly 
derived from the decomposition of organisms. The mud is easily stirred 
up on all seasons and never settles down into a uniformly compact deposit 
but the upper stratum is in a greater state of liquidity than its lower 
depths. It occupies particular areas and within these well defined limits 
its movement is from north to south. 

Regarding the water over the mud, Dr. King says* : — . 

"It is only known to calm down during the S. W. Monsoon. The calming 
of the anchorages does not take place until aifter the monsoon has commenced and 
there has been a stirring up of the sea and mud. The quieting of the waters 
is intensified according to the amount of rainfall during the monsoon ; but even 
if no rainfall, there is a certain amount of quiescence. The calmness 
continues throughout the monsoon, apparently without any fresh stirring up of 
the mud. In one locality at least, the water is subject at times to 
violent agitation through the bursting up of gigantic bubbles of water, mud or 
gas, — it is not quite clear which; and these features also appear to be intensified 
during heavy rainy weather in the monsoon periods. The water over the banks 
becomes considerably freshened even to the extent — as I was told by 
Mr. Crawford — of being drinkable ; also according as the monsoon rains are 
light or heavy. At such times, also, the water gives off fetid odours, and the 
fish inhabiting it are killed off in large numbers ; but whether owing to the fresh- 
ening of the sea-wajer, or the exhibition of poisonous matter and vapour in the 
water, is not clear ; perhaps this destruction of life may be due to both causes. . 

The soothing of the troubled waters of the sea must surely be due 
to the oily constitution of the mud. An expariment performed 
sometime ago in the harbour of Peterhead, when a stream of oil 

* ContideratioDS on the smootli-wator anehora^i^es, or mnd-bankfl of Narakal and 
Alleppey on the Travancore Coast — Records of the Geol«gi(»al Survoy of Indin, Vol. XVU. 

50 Travaxcore Maxval. [Chap, 

was cast upon the heavy seas at the harbour's mouth with such 
success that vessels were enabled to run in with comparative ease 
clearly proves this. Thus the actiou of oil on troubled waters is confirmed 
not only by tradition and anecdote but by actual fact ; but the long ocwa- 
tinuance of the quiescence without any fresh stirring up is not easily ac- 
counted for. The amount of oil derived from the decomposition of the 
animal and vegetable matter of the organisms in the mud would be hardly 
sufficient to account for the features exhibited ; hence we must look to 
other sources for the oil and even for the continued supply of mud itself 
which is evidently carried away and distributed by littoral cm'rents. 

The consensus of opinion certainly leads to the conclusion that there 
is an undergromid discharge of water at any rate into the sea from the 
lagoon and river system beliind tlie AUeppey-Poracad Coast during flood- 
time, the inland waters being at a higher level than the sea. This passage 
of underground waters must, more particularly during heavy rains, force 
cut large quantities of the mud en which the Alleppey Poracad land rests 
like a floating bog, as it were, elastic and capable of yielding to pressure 
or exerting pressure by its own weight, while a continuous stream of the 
same oil and mud may be kept up under the lower pressure of the ordinary 
backwater level. In the monsoon time the heavy floods, which however 
occur only at long intervals, cause great discharges of mud, oil and gases 
and at such times new banks might be formed, the old ones being 
distributed down the coast by littoral currents arid finally dissipated into 
the open sea. 

The presence of petroleum has to be accounted for by the fact that 
besides the alluvial deposits large lumps of clay or compact mud, more 
or less decayed, and vegetable remains are brought to the surface during 
the prevalence of the violent ebullitions. Such clays are met with in 
the Varkala deposits associated with lignite beds, in which occm* trunks 
and roots of trees in every stage of decay. It is probable that the Varkala 
deposits may extend north under the Alleppey Poracad alluvium and 
even again at Narakal, where also fragments of similar clays are 
thrown up by the sea ; and that it is in these deposits as being deeper- 
seated, older and lignitiferous that the earth-oil is generated. 

Thus Etccording to Dr. King, the mud banks, their smoothening influence, 

and their position within certain ranges of the coast, may be entirely due 

to the following causes : — 

"1. The discharge of mud from imder the lands of Alleppy, Poracand and 
Narrakal, being effected by the percolation or underground passage of lagoon 
water into the sea. 

t] Geology. 61 

2. Hie presence in this mud of oily matter, derived perhaps in part from the 
deoompoeition of organisms, hut principally from the distillation of oil in sub- 
jacent llgnitiferous deposits belonging presumably to the Warkilli strata. 

3. The action of littoral currents which, slowly and through long periods of 
}'ear8, carry the mud down the coast to certain points whence it is dissipated 
seawards, — by the Quilon river at Narrakal, and at Poracaud because it is there 
beyond the range of replacement. " 

Soonomio Geology. According to Mr. Bruce Foote, valuable 
minerals and metals are conspicuous by their absence in South Tra- 
vancore and this remark may be truly applied to the whole of Travancore. 

The development of the gold industry in Southern India having raised 
hopes of gold likely to be found among the quartz out-crops of Peermade 
and the adjacent country, Dr. King was requested to examine those 
parts and report on the same. His report is conclusive. He says : — 

" These out-crops are not reefs as usually understood but are true beds of 
quartz rock lying between and running w4tli other beds of the country rock 
which is of the crystalline or gneiss series, Keefs or veins of quartz generally 
run across the country rock as in Wainad or in the Kolar region of Mysore. 
Secondly the size of these out-crops is small, only one of them being sufl&ciently 
large to allow any expectation of what might be called a good tonnage of 
stone. Thirdly, and most important of all, the quartz of the out-crops, though 
it shows on a close assay traces of gold, is certainly not rich enough to bo 
called aiuiferous quartz in the usual acceptance of the term. " 

He found on examination that the ordinary crop of the Peermade Hills 
consists of a thin bed of quartz rock, largely made up also of felspar. 
He says that in all of the main outcrops of Peermade, 

"the rock is more or less of the same constitution, that is, a quartz rock wlt6 
very often a good deal of felspar distributed tlirough it in small crystalline 
masses sometimes as large as peas, generally coarsely crystallised dull white 
and glassy quartz ; and less often a more compact rock like that of vein or 
reef. It is generally of a white colour, but at times it is stained red or even 
a golden yellow from feri-uginous matter and scattered through it, there is often 
a small quantity of iron pyrites or frequent small particles of magnetic iron 

Plumbago. — General Cullen was the first to discover graphite in 1843. 
In 1865 Dr. Royle discovered some specimens w hich were lamellar and soft 
but brilliant. Some samples were forwarded from a],|'place south of 
Trivandrum for examination but were considered too soft and scaly for 
the manufacture of pencils. The matrix appeared to be a pseudo-laterite 
formed of decomposed gneiss in situ. Deposits were also found near 
Vellanad, the veins in which plumbago occurs being said to cross the 
strike of the gneiss. The plumbago found here is much purer than 
others. Mining work is carried on in three mines viz, Vellanad and 

52 Tkavancuee Manual. [Chap. 

Cullen mines in Ooozhamalakal Proverty, Neduinangad Taluq, and the 
Venganur mine in the Kottukal Proverty, Neyyattinkara Taluq. 

The total output of plumbago during the last four years was 
as follows : — 

lUUl 1902 1903 1904 

Vellanad Tons 152G 2401^ 1828i 15711 

Cullen „ 906i 2173* 1421J 1431^ 

Venganur ,, 57i ... 144 248 

Total 2190 4575J 3393| 3251J 

Messrs. Parry and Co. and Tlie Morgan Crucible Company who work 
these mines pay a nominal lioyalty to the Government of 4 or 6 Rs. 
per ton according to the quality of the plumbago mined. 

Iron — Iron ore is found throughout Travancore in large quantities but 
as imported iron is much cheaper than the locally manufactured iron, the 
industry is given up. In the Shencottah Taluk iron is obtained as black 
sand in the brooks in Pulangudiyiruppu and Achanputhur villages. It 
is said that two persons working daily can take up 7J Kottas or 126 Parahs 
of the sand in a month, and that 4 Parahs of this sand smelted with 40 
Parahs of charcoal and ashes jaeld about 80 pounds of iron. The selling 
price of this iron is 4 Rs. while the cost of manufacture comes to about 
5 Ks. Hence the industry has been given up. It is also found at 
Pralakat in Cheranallur Proverty, Kunnattur Taluk, where an unlimited 
quantity of the ore is obtainable. Here the out-turn is said to be 10 lbs. 
for every 100 pounds of the ore. Iron ore is reported to be foimd at 
Aramboly in large quantities at a depth of 15 or 10 feet. This place 
was once noted for its iron smelting industry. As large quantities of 
foreign iron began to be imported the industry had to be given up here 

At Myladi till about thirty years ago the peoi)le earned their livelihood 
by gathering iron ore at the foot of the Poranathumala after heavy showers 
when the oj-e is washed down from the top of the hill. This they used 
to remove in baskets to the nearest rock and holding up the baskets at 
sufficient height, allow the contents to drop down by degrees against 
the smart and steady breeze which carried away the sand and rubbish 
leaving the ore behind. They used to take the ore thus sifted to their 
houses where they smelt it into lumps of varying size and sell the some 

1.] Gkology. 68 

to the blacksmiths, who turned them into agricultural implements &c. 
It is reported that tools made of this iron would last considerably longer 
than those made of imported material. 

Limestone — This is found in considerable quantities near Layam 
in the Tovala Taluq, Tirupurathur in Neyyattinkara and Kazha- 
kuttam in Trivandrum. It is dug out from pits varying from about 
5 to 8 feet and it is reported that limestone of a superior quality is obtain- 
able at greater depths. The lime made here is chiefly sold to the Public 
Works Department. It is used for paving sides of wells and tanks and 
for making tubs. 

Granite — The gneiss near Cape Comorin is gc^nerally like those of 
the Nilgiris but more quartzose. The Cape Comorin type of rock 
abounding in South Travancore is a well-bedded massive quaitzo-felspathic 
granite gneiss abounding in small rich-coloured garnets. The rock also 
contains mica in glistening scales. Granite is used chiefly for metalling 
roads and erecting buildings, bridges &c. In the Chengannm* Taluq 
which is noted for its excellent workmanship in gi-anite, some good speci- 
mens of images, flutes, rose-water sprinklers &c. are made out of it. 

The supply of beautiful building stones is practically unhmited in 
South Travancore but not much use is madeot them except for temples and 
fort walls. The extensive Travancore hnes are mostly built of gneiss, the 
Vattakotta Fort being a very fine sample of excellent well-cut masonry. To 
the extreme south end of the lines, blocks of marine sandstone have been 
employed in the walls to some extent but have been much affected by 

Mica — This occurs chiefly in the Eraniel Taluk. It is worked by 
regular mining operations. The out-put for 1899 was 12,706 lbs. The follow- 
ing is an extract from a letter from Messrs. Henry Grail and Co., London, 
dated 11th May 1900 regarding the quality and quotation of Travancore 
mica : — 

" Several parcels of Travancore mica have been ottered and sold here lately 
and to-day's values are as follows with a good demand and good prospects for the 

Travancore amber plates free from specks &c. 
2V'by3i"— — Gdperlb.) . , . , 

2I" by 4 " - -1/6 d Jer lb. 1 ^" ^"^^ '^^''''''''^' 

3" by 8" — —2/6 d per lb. —not in great demand. 

Travancore amber mica would come into severe competition with Canadian, 
hence the necessity of careful preparation." 

S4 Tbavancore Manual. [Chap. I. 

But the mineral has akeady become very scarce, the income to the 
Sirkar in 1903—1904 being only about 30 Es. 

Before concluding this part of the subject, it maybe well to state 
that according to the Royal Proclamation issued on th® 2nd^MitlML^05 6' 
Government have reserved to themselves the right to all the metals and 
minerals discovered on private properties. It has also been notified on 
the 30th July 1898 that prospecting for or mining of metals and minerals, 
whether in Sirkar or private lands, is strictly prohibited except under a 
hcense obtained from the Government in accordance with the. rules in 
force for the purpose. 

Climate, Rainfall, and Meteorology. 

" Siiig a hymn, pleasing to Varuna the king. He sent cool breezes 
through the woods, put mettle in the steed (the sun) milk in the kine (clouds), 
wisdom in the heart, fire in the waters, lightning in the (clouds), placed the sun 
in the heavens, the Soma on the mountains. — He upset the cloud-barrel and 
let its waters flow on Heaven, Air, and Earth, wetting the ground and the 
crops. — He wets both Earth and Heaven, and soon as he wishes for those kine's 
milk, the mountains are wrapt in thunder-clouds and the strongest walkers are 
tired." (Big Veda) 

Climate. A warm humidity is one of the special features of the 
climate of Travancore. Small as the country is, its high mountain ranges, 
its valleys and plains and its coast-line greatly influence the atmospheric 
condition. The temperature varies according to the height of the locality 
above the level of the sea. But the most noticeable variations are common 
only in the mountains. The climate of the plains is much more constant 
and is subject to comparatively few in^egularities. The thermometer rarely 
shows a higher reading than 90° and even in the coldest season it never 
falls below 70°. This uniformity of temperature is explained to be due to 
(1) the superheated condition of the surface soil, (2) the cool sea-breezes 
and the abundance of rain throughout more than half of the year and 
(3) the process of evaporation. 

In the whole of Malabar and Travancore, there is no thick layer of 
cool earth on the surface capable of quickly absorbing the sun's rays, as in 
the Temperate Zone. Hence the surface soil becomes very heated and is 
constantly radiating its heat day and night, and consequently a uniform 
high temperature is maintained. 

The cool sea-breezes, always saturated with moisture, blow steadily 
and regularly every day during the hot weather. These, combined with 
the abundance of rain that falls in the country, moderate the intensity of 
the heat and maintain a uniform temperature. 

In the process of evaporation a large amount of heat becomes 
latent. This goes on in the hours of the hottest sunshine. As the country 
is well equipped with back-waters and rivers and as it is on the sea-board, 

56 Tkavancork Manual. [Chap. 

evaporation plays an important part in moderating the heat and reducing 
the temperature. 

The hills present every degree of temperature from the fever 
heat at their base to near the freezing point upon the summit. At the foot 
of the hills and in places beyond the influence of the sea-breeze, the thermo- 
meter rises 5 ° or 6 ^ higher. On the hills, the temperature varies 
with the elevation. In the Periyar valley near Peermade, the country 
being completely shut up by high land, the extreme range of temperature 
is very great, varying from little more than 45 ° to over 90°. As we go 
higher, the air is naturally much cooler. The Kanni Elam hills, one of 
the divisions of the Cardamom Hills, are about 3,000 to 3,500 feet 
high and are within the influence of the sea-breeze and consequently 
pretty free from bad fevers. But the Makaram Elam hills, though higher, 
are during some months very unhealthy. From July to January they 
are healthy and the temperature is low ; but from the end of February or 
early in March, fevers of the worst type prevail and continue till June. 
On the High Eanges the thermometer ranges from 45° to 60° in March 
and April and between 29° to 60° in November, December and January. 
The meteorological efl'ects of the whole of India, if not of the whole world, 
are thus presented to us in Travancore in a small compass. On some of 
the peaks we have the pinching cold of the northern regions of Europe. 
Lower down on an elevation of between thi-ee and four thousand feet (the 
Ashamboo or Peermade Range for instance), one meets with the bracing 
temperature of England. The genial warmth of an Italian sun with its clear 
and cloudless sky is experienced all over the country for a few weeks 
after the cessation of the monsoons. From January to May there is 
intense heat which in some Taluqs present the aspect of a true equatorial 
region and epidemics rage with virulence. The three months after the par- 
tial cessation of the rains are the most agreeable and salubrious, ** the 
air being cool and refreshing and the face of the country clothed with a 
luxuriant verdure ". The dewy season is not agreeable to the working 
classes. On the whole, the climate of Travancore is enervating, depres- 
sing the nervous system and retarding the recovery of strength when it 
has been prostrated by illness. 

Seasons. Our ancient Sanskrit writers have divided the year 
into six seasons or Bithus, each comprising a period of two months. 
Of these the first, Vasauta Rithu or Spring, is the season of mirth and 
gaiety and begins in March. "The mango is then covered with fragrant 
blossoms of which Manmatha tlie Indian Cupid makes his shafts 




and the landscape is gay with the beautiful and the sweet-scented flowers 
of the kakke or Indian laburnum. The southerly breezes that blow 
daring the night are the voluptuous zephyrs of this vernal season." 
The next two months are designated Grishma Bithu or the Summer 
season. Varsha Bithu or the rainy season comes next. The South-west 
monsoon blows steadily during this period. During the next season, 
Sarad Bithu or Autumn, the fruits of the earth ripen. This season closes 
with the change of the monsoon. The Hemanta Bithu or Winter next 
fiets in with chilly mornings and bright sunny days. The Sisira Bithu 
or cold season closes the circle of the year. 

The year in Travancore may, however, be divided into four seasons, 
viz. , the Dry or dewy season, the Hot weather, the South-west monsoon 
proper or wet season and the Retreating South-west monsoon period, 
based on the mean data of the meteorological elements given in the 
following tables, I and II, obtained from the Trivandrum Observatory. 

Table I. 








SletLH cloud amount. 





Per cent. 

























41 ' 








































4-241 I 








3 7-lS 








10-] 36 
















1 2093 





1 77'8 






Travancork ;Mam'ai.. 


The following table gives means for the four seasons corresponding to 
the data of Table I. 

Table II. 











« OS 



cloud amoun 































Per cent. 


Dec. to Feb. 

. 207U 







March to May 

.. -654 







June to Sep. 

...' TmG 







Oct. to Nov. 

... -092 







The dry season lasts from December to February, and is characterised 
by moderate humidity and cloud, and by very hght rain and absence of 
thunder-storms. This is the dewy season or the cold weather, but refer- 
red to here as the dry season on account of the fact that the air contains 
the least aqueous vapour in this season. 

The hot weather lasts from March to May, it:^ most prominent features 
being moderately high temperature, occasional rain (increasing in 
quantity with the advance of the season) and frequent thunder-storms. 
Throughout this season, there is an intense and oppressive heat which is 
very intolerable in March and April. No doubt the season is slightly 
relieved by a few showers ; but still the continued heat is insufferable and 
some of the places present tlie aspect of a true equatorial region from 
which it is not far distant. The country of Xanjanad though fully ex- 
posed to the severity of the suns heat, is relieved of much of its intensity 
by the strong sea-breezes which sweep across tlie plains. During these 
months, in the lower hills, the violence of the heat is extreme. As we 
recede from the coast, the country becomes le«s healthy. During this and 
the previous season, fever, generally in the hills and in the valleys, and 
some of the epidemics, especially small-pox and cholera, break out 
occasionally with very great virulence. The borders of the lakes, however, 
always afford an agreeable climate. 

The South-west monsoon i)ropv:jr or wet season continues from June 
to September, and i.characterisecl by clouded skies, high humidity, copious 

IL ] Meteorology. 69 

rain and absence of thundc-r-stonns. Sonietimos the monbO^n com- 
mences towards the end o( May and the regular rains are ushered in 
by thunder and lightning. Till tlie end of August the rains are very 
heavy and by September the rainfall becomes much lighter. 

The retreating South-west monsoon period includes the months of 
October and November. Its chief feature is rain diminishing in amount 
with the advance of the season. The rains are, as a rule, preceded 
by thunder-storms of greater or less intensity. But the greater part o? the 
rain registered in Travancore is brouglit by the S. W. monsoon. The 
amount varies considerably, being least in South Travancore, but gra- 
dually increasing along the sea-board to its northern limit. Towards the 
end of October, the N. E. monsoon begins and all through the month 
of November, a heavy shower is cxpei-ienced in the afternoons though 
the mornings are generally fine. 

By the beginning of December, tlie rains become less frequent and 
the country begins to diy up ; by tlie end of December, the dry weather 
is fairly begun. Dewfall begins at nights in November and lasts till 
February. The sudden changes in the temperature of this season, from 
intense heat in thc^ day to excessive cold in the night, often generate and 
foster the development of the epidemics, especially cholera. The land 
winds that prevail in the months of November, December and January pro- 
duce many unpleasant ailments such as rheumatism, coughs, disordered 
stomach and pains all over the body. Jungle fever prevails near the foot 
of the hills ; the moist heat at this part of the year is very depressing and 
is the cause of the above mentioned disorders. 

Temperature*— DiUHNAL variation. In Trivandrum, the mean 
epoch of minimum temperature occurs at 4-51 a. m. on the average 
of the whole year. Thence the temperature goes on increasing till it 
agi-ees exactly with the mean temperature of the day at 8-16 A. m. and 
attains its maximum at 1-34 i\ m. Thenceforward the temperature 
goes on decreasing till it is once more identical with the mean of day 
at 6-58 p. M. and finally reaches its minimum again at 4-61 a. m. 
The following table exhibits the diurnal oscillation of temperature at 
Trivandrum during the four seasons and for the whole year : — 

♦For tho iK'Couiu of tf^niponitnro. niinfall, winds, storms and (NMrrlt'pipJx »«i, latu iiKlel)to<I to 
Mr. Vein Pillai, Hond .Assistant of tin* Trivandrinn ObsiMvatnrx . 


Tbavaxcore Manual. 

[ Chap. 

Table III. 







Bouth-Tvest >► 
monsoon J 










from mean 

of day of 

Mean epoch 

Epoch of »ero 

variation from 

mean ot day. 










A. M. 

P. M. 




h. m. 

h. m. 


b. m. 








+ 4-5 



8- 6 



+ 5-5 

' 4.40 


8- 3 



+ 5-6 





Annual variation. Temperature increases [with fair regularity 
from the middle of December to the beginning of April. It then falls> 
at first very slowly in April and May and then slightly more rapidly in 
June and the first half of July, to a secondary minimum in July (76'3°) 
on the 13th, dififering only by 0.08° from the absolute minimum on the 
16th and 17th of December. 

During the remainder of the year, the mean daily temperature 
ranges irregularly within narrow limits (between 76*2° and 77*5°), 
indicating that the normal seasonal changes of temperature of this period 
are very small compared with the variations due to local and occasional 
actions or causes, such as rainfall &c. The chief feature of the progression 
of temperature during this period, however, appears to be that it increases 
slightly and somewhat irregularly from the 13th of July (76'3^ to the 
28th of September (77-5'0 and thence decreases with approximate re- 
gularity to the 15th of December. The following table gives, in brief, 
data of the chief maximum and minimum epochs of the variation of 
temperature during the year. 


Table IV. 



Character of phase. 

Normal daily temper- 
ature on date. 

16th and 17th of December ... 

Absolute minimum 


Snd and 3rd of April 

Absolute maximum 


13th of July 

Secondary minimum 


37th and 28th of September... 

Secondary maximum 


It may be observed that the average or normal daily temperature is 
above the mean of the year for only 1 15 days, i. e., from the I5th of February 
to the 9th of June and is below it during the remainder of the year. The 
mean diurnal range of temperature for the 12 months and for the year is 
given below : — 

Table V. 




















Table VI gives the mean actual daily and monthly temperatures at 
Trivandrum derived from the Beries of observations taken during the 
period 1856-1864, and Table VII gives the mean hourly temperatures for 
each month and for the whole year. 


Travakcork Manual. 






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t^ t^ r^ r^ j> »>. t'. I'. I'- 1'. r>. !>. 1^ *>. i^ t>. t>. 1^ 1^ r>. !>. t>- 1^ t* t* t^ t^ t^ t>» ts t* 

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. I- 1^ 1^ r- 1^ i^ 1-. 1^ w I-. i> i> t^ t^ t>. ?; 








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r-NCC-?iOCOt^XOO — M«'fL0C0t^X05Qi-iMC0'^»0«Dt^«0aOi-i 




















« 50 1^ ^ N X ^- 1> 

> X i.'S <M »-• »0 J'- -* 



1^ !>. t* t^ t^ 1- 1^ t^ «> l> X X X X X X X 1^ i^ 1^ t^ 1^ l^ t^ 



A>. t^ 1^ t^ i> t-- r^ t^ X X X X X X X X X X X X t^ i> I'. 1^ 






ri "^ CD M cc 

X J-^ O O 1^ 

p ip S ci X 
O ,Li ^ iIh ^ 
X X X X X 





1- t>. t^ 1^ I' t^ O l> t^ t- 


I'- 1>. 1^ i> i> t* r* t^ t^ X X X X « X XX X X 00 1^ 1^ t>- 1^ 

The following table gives the dala for the diurnal variation of the 
amount of vapour present in the air and also for the diurnal variation of 
hiinjidity for each of the four seasons of the year and the average for the 
year in Trivandruni ; — 


Travancore Manual. 


'Ji )|ptxiinr[ 0Ai)V[fi^ 

'aattsi^U iacHl04 


5 *f 


■Xiipiuiurt c»Atf«i«^ 

'i?4iiBv^il jnodu^ 

ilipioiini ^ijp;*^ 

^ 1- 


'^aiitftdjU jtiodn^^ 



*AlH^tUUQl| 9^At4U|C>|{ 

ui jin>duiL JO a u ITU 5 

'dausKud jnoUiijv 

■i^tptuiQti a\i|Dis^ 

n — 





*j!tJ JO qooj ptqu.i 
lit jttLodta^ JO flnL«j() 

'^jn^sOiid jDUflvA 

lO ^ tfS ^lO dt a Qi O ^ & d P^ <5 <H £7 ^ ^ ^ tr^ to t^ ^ t0 



p ^«4 CO 

01 ^ m M 




Rainfall. The territorial distribution of rainfall in Travaucore ex- 
hibits two well-defined characteristics. One is the gradual diminution of 
rainfall from Parur to Cape Comorin, and the other the gradual increase 
of the fall proceeding from the coast towards the mountains. Besides, it is 
also true that up to a certain height the rainfall over the mountains grad- 
ually increases in amount. Considering the variation of the mean annual 
rainfall, Travancore may be divided into three narrow belts, namely, 
(1) the littoral or the lowland, (2) the submontane or the central and 
(3) the mountainous or the upland belt. The httoral belt has an average 
annual rainfall of 67*6 inches, the submontane 92*9 inches and the 
mountainous or the upland 110*1 inches. Thus it is seen that the 
amount of the precipitation of vapour increases from the coast towdrds 
the ghauts, the weight of the fall over the mountains being a little less 
than twice the weight of the fall near the coast. 

The S. W. monsoon winds blowing over the Arabian sea take a 
north-westerly bend before they come into contact with the coast lands of 
Malabar and are felt as north-north-westerly to west-north-westerly winds in 
Travancore. The direction of the wind partly depends upon the trend of the 
coast-line, and the rainfall will depend on the angle which the monsoon 
currents make with the ghauts. It is not improbable that the maximum 
of precipitation occurs at the place of incidence of the monsoon current 
on the Malabar coast, which may vary in position from year to year. The 
law of the variation of rainfall along the coast is one of gradual decrease 
from this point, as the cm-rent reaches nearer and nearer to the Cape. A 
slight variation from this rule resulting in a diminution of the amount of 
rainfall at Shertallay, Kartikapalli and Karunagapalli is also perceptible, 
but it is difficult to offer an explanation for this diminution. The mean 
annual rainfall at some important stations on the coast is given below :— 






60 -9 

Shertallay ... 

93 '2 


04- 7 



Neyyattinkara ... 








Tamarakulam . . . 





32 'G 



6d Tkavancoue Manual. [CiHi*. 

The mean falls of the four Adminibtrative Divisions are. as follow:— 

Kotiayam ... ... 115 '1 

Quilon ... ... 90-3 

Trivandi-um ... ... 69*8 

Padmanabhapumm ... 38*4 

The Kottayaui Division receives three times as much rain asi the 
Padmanabhapuram Di\ision, while Trivandrum has nearly 71% of what 
Quilon receives. Though the most favom*ed locality in Travancore M 
regards rainfall is apparently the Cardamom Hills, data are wanting to oor« 
roborate the belief. Of individual stations, Peermade has the greatest 
ra-infall averaging to 198*4 inches annually. Todupuzha has the next 
greatest amount, viz., 145*2 inches. The least recorded fall is seen Bt 
Aramboly * where it averages to 29*1 inches. 

Annual variation.— The annual variation of rainfall in Travan- 
core follows a regular curve that has two maxima and two minima. The 
absolute maximum and minimum occur in June and January respectively, 
while tlie secondary maximum and minimum fall respectively in October 
and Heptember. The least amomit of rainfall is received in the month 
of January. Precipitation then goes on moderately increasing till the 
commencement of the 8. W. monsoon, which takes place generally about 
the last week of May. June is preeminently the month of maximum 
rainfall throughout Travancore. Then a slight diminution takes place 
in the amount of the rainfall received in the several stations during the 
months of July and August, and the secondary minimum is arrived 
at in the month of September. There is a sudden increase in the amoiyit 
of rainfall in the month of October. This rain is locally known as 
Thulavarsham. The fall then decreases slowly in the month of 
November and rapidly through December and January, which last is the 
driest month of the year. More than 87% of the annual rainfall is received 
during the prevalence of the S. W. monsoon, viz., from May to November. 

Periods of deficient rainfall.— As for periods of deficient 

rainfall, it is on record that the year 1860 was a year of famine in Soutii 
Travancore. The rainfalls in Trivandrum for 1855 and 1870 also indi- 
cate years of scarcity. Beyond this, it is impossible to accurately deter- 
mine the years of deficient rainfall before 1885, as it was only from that 
year that an extensive system of rainfall observations was begun. Daring 
the year 1881, however, rainfall iccurds were received from 13 stations, 

11} Meteorology. 67 

and the amount of rainfall in all of them was far below the norinal, tho 
actuftl amoant in one of thera being 64% less than the normal. In 1880 
and 1890 the fall was below the normal at 27 and 30 stations respectively 
OQi of the 96 stationl^ at which rainfall was gauged. At the stations 
at which the rainfall was below the normal, the deficiency was 28% of 
the normal in 1886 and 23% of the normal in 1390. In 1894 and 1893 
the fttinfUl Was below the normal by 518-23 and 565*37 inches respect- 
ively i.e., by 17*0% and 18*6% of the normal. Out of the 36 stations, 
30 stations in 1894 and 31 stations in 1895 haid rain below the normal 
In the years 18Sf2 and 1893, a considerable deficiency in the amount of 
rainfall seems to have taken place in the Padmanabhapuram Division 
alone. The actual amounts received were 65 • 6 % of the normal in 1892 
and 63*3% in 1893. Thus it may be inferred with a fair degree of accu- 
racy that the yeai-s 1886 and 1890 were years of deficient rainfall 
throughout Travancore. The biennial period of 1894 and 1895 must 
also have been more than usually dry throughout Travancore. The 
yearsr 1892 and 1893 seem to be years of drought in South Travancore 
though the intensity of the drought may have been feeble. 

A tabid giving the mean monthly and annual rainfall at 36 stations 
in Travancore is given below: — 


Tray.vkcot^k Maxi'al. 






I 3?.S§l3S?5^ig^5ll3!3i?S.BSgS52gSS3S?3S;S?S5SS 

1^ •+ uo eo ir; 



o i-iw-MOieowx 

j2 X X -^ »0 -N !>• «N -- ..* >.^ -., -w 

g ^ -N u? i^ t^ w tc o X ^ b» « 




c^i t^ © o X ci 0*6 *'^'^'C'i^O'^ow«owwoO'if«Oi^oN»Hdoo«6axot^« 



<N an 

C60i?Oi-iwccr^®-^?DO«H«-<t^»^co;D^coxx»'5 0:'fco5scooix^eo<Nio^oo 




. - . -., - , -- - o « :6 o »^ X p a oS o f^ o O S ^ X w o S S 








O l>.-^l>-Oi®W'H«CC»'5t^C5«Qr^l^COCOOi|r*QQCOCO"^QO»!?OlO'*X'^®'*«»H 

^ clAci^^O^JO'^^pxcot^oo^>l-^S.-(ecMH'^xc6o»o»^HO^>woi«^oo•H 
g "ij«.^i^ocw«j>6oi>.^-io'^r^f5ib'^'i^f:xxO'^X"^ib« 

O l5Or^^e0h«.h*Q'-'t^CXO'M'-ir5t^OQC<IO'M<M'^X'+h-'M'i»XX'Hh»X«t* 

o r^h*i-H0>O'«f«cCf-'»c-r5Xi>«-x<--i:0X'5'<f<i--ec--<pt>»oc0Mc^c»^t^i-HOecot*t*w5 

^ cp n <p -i* n iO t^ -i^^ r^ ry^ <p t^t^Ci^ t^-^ CO ^Oi lo^ 00'^ f--^i^ ^lO^ iico^^ 

g cooC'^coO'^c-^O'Hbboob'^-^'^M.^bbiHoboiHoooboo 

I a. '+'rJC'MXOOI-CCCO:OC^t^t^'»«C<|COC:«XCCCC-t»C5XO'M'M'»l>.C" 

• Ovnun r ' -^ oO'-'^0'^c<i':ic^i-occco^i:c?c--!'^c-^'--tecc<io«»icc'^co»cccc<ixNa 
■'• I g b b c j> 6 b c o b oc o b b b b b bb A^ b b bb bb b b bbb c 


bbb bb 

-. = 3 N 


, /- "^ — s '^ a >, &., 

^ si — 
e- .= - 

.= o 

* S 




:=^ i^ a. u -?i 

a^ u < ^JH 


3— -fl ? 2 


' w t^ S S « o>S J?5 H 






III 11 


II] MKTE0R0L0f4T. 69 

Wind. About the general character of the air movement at Trivan- 
drum, Mr. J. ElUot writes* : — 

''During the pei'iod from November to April when north-east winds generally 
obtain in the south and centre of the Bay (of Bengal) and the air movement is 
continued across the Deccan, Mysore and South Madras as north-easterly to 
easterly winds, Trevandrum is sheltered by the high Travancore hills from these 
winds. The air motion at Trevandrum during this period consists of an alter- 
nating movement between land and sea (/. e., land and sea-breezes) and of a 
feeble general movement from directions between noi*th and west common to 
the Konkan and Malabar coasts at this period. The direction of the movement 
is apparently determined in part at least by the trend of the coast. During the 
remainder of the year, from about the middle of May to November, South-west 
monsoon winds of greater or less intensity prevail in the Arabian sea. They 
usually set in on the Travancore coast in the last week of Mt».y. They have 
their greatest extension and also the greatest intensity in the months of July 
and August. They begin to fall off in strength in September and continue to 
decrease in intensity in the south of the Arabian Sea in October and November, 
but withdraw gradually during these months from the north and centre of the 
sea area, being replaced by light variable winds. During the period of the full 
extension of the South-west monsoon over the north of the Arabian sea into 
upper India in July and August, the current in the south-east between the 
liccadives and Maladives and the Malabar coast not only falls off to some ex- 
tent, but in the lower strata instead of rising directly and surmounting the 
Travancore hills it tends to be deflected towards the south by these hills and to 
pass south-eastwards along the coast and join that part of the current which 
passes to the south of Ceylon and enters the Bay. There is hence a slight 
northerly shift of the winds on the Malabar coast from the beginning to the 
middle of the South -West monsoon." •' 

Variation of wind velocity. The annual variation in the 
strength of the winds in the south and. centre of the Arabian sea is 
reflected in the winds at Trivandrum. The air movement is least at Tri- 
vandrum in December, or at the end of the S. W. monsoon. It in- 
creases slightly during the next tlu*ee months and rapidly from April to 
July and is ab.solutely gi-eatest in August. It falls off very rapidly in 
October and November attaining the minimum in December. 

The diurnal variation of velocity differs considerably in character 
at different seasons of the year. From November to April it 
is detegnined by the alternating movement of the sea and land 
breezes. There are hence during this period two maxima and 
two minima, the former corresponding with the greatest intensity of 
the land and sea breezes, and the latter with the average of the shift 
from one to the other which, of course, varies considerably from day 
to day. The day maximum of the sea-breeze is very strongly exhibited as 
is also the evening minimum. The morning maximum and minimum of 
the land-breeze are, as might be expected, less marked than the corres- 
ponding phases of the sea-breeze, but are clearly shown. They are most 

* Indian Meteorological Memoirs ; Part I.. Vol. X. "^ 

70 TiiAVANcoRE Manual. [Cha^ 

pronounced in December, January and February ; and it is hence in these 
months that the land and sea breezes are probably most prominent taiA 
form the chief feature of the air movement. The land winds are strongest 
at about a little after sunrise and the sea-breeze at 2 P. m. or at nearly 
the same instant as the maximum of temperature. The mommg miaai* 
mum is accelerated as the season advances, whilst the evening minimxim is 
retarded. The effect of the increasing temperature from January to Apvil 
is hence to lengthen the period of the sea-breezes and diminish th^ of 
the land-breezes (by a total amount of 5 hours) between Jtouary and 
April. The diurnal variation during the remainder of the year, May to 
October, consists of a single oscillation, the maximum velocity occurring 
from about 2 p. m. and the minimum shortly after midnight. The ratio 
of the maximum to the minimum velocity in the diurnal variation iB fairly 
constant throughout the period. 

The following is a picturesque description of the setting in of the 
monsoon in Travancore by Mr. J. A. Broun F. E. S., a late Director of 
the Trivandrum Observatory : — 

" There is no place in India where the magnificent phenomena which . 
precedes the bursting of the monsoon can be seen and studied with 
more ease than on the Agustia Peak. For a month or more before 
the final crash of the tempest, the whole operations of the great 
atmospheric laboratory are developed at our feet, while the summit of 
the mountain itself is rarely \'isited by the storms which rage over its 
western flanks. In the morning, chains of finely formed cumuli seem 
to rest over the sea horizons of Malabar and Coromandel. Frequently it is 
evident that what appears a serried file of cloud masses is only ciunuli irregu- 
larly distributed over the country; their shadows, projected near noon, spot 
and chequer the plains and the undulating country' below from sea to mounttun. 
Early in the morning the vapours begin to rise near the western precipices; 
the cloud accumulates and seeks to pass by the lowest coh into the eastern 
valleys; it seems opposed by a repulsive influence, for no breath of air is felt; 
it ascends at last, after noon, in mighty masses crowned with cirrous clouds which 
spread eastwards like an immense parasol over our heads. Then the lightning 
begins to play, darting in varied and ramiform circuits from cloud to cloud; 
the thunder rolls, at first in shai-p separate crashes, and at last continuously; 
the rain is heard drenching the forests below. After an hour, or seveml hours, 
according to the distance from the monsoon, the clouds quit the mountains, 
move more westw^ards, and then disappear ; the sun shines out again over the 
western sea, assuming before setting the most fantastic forms; the stars sparkle 
in all their beauty, and the morning again appears with its chains of clotias on 
the horizon. As the time for the monsoon draws near, the cloud masses seek 
with more and more energy to pass the mountains eastwards; sometimes two 
such masses present themselves, — one creeping up an eastern valley, the 
other entering the col from the west. Nothing can be more interesting than 
to watch this combat of the vapours. Day by day the western clouds enter a 
little farther; at last they come driven on by a giant force, — ^rise to the tops 
of the mountains, and pour over their walls into the eastern hollows, like the 
steam from a gi'eat caldron; they plunge first downwards Niagaras of cloud. 

li ] Metbobology. 71 

ftad then as they curl upwards, they disappeai-, absorbed in the hotter eastern 
wr. The storm, with dehiges of rain, sweeps over the mountain, and the mon- 
soon reigns over the low lands of Malabar. "" 

Btorms. The storms that usually frequent the Indian Peninsula 
and the adjacent seas belong to the class called " Cyclones ". In a cyclone, 
the wind blows in spiral curves, more or less circular in form, round a 
centre of low pressure, increasing in force as it approaches the centre. 
The whole cyclone thus constituted, besides turning round a focus, has 
a straight or curved motion forwards, so that, like a great whirhvind, it 
is both turning roimd, and, as it were, rolling forwards at the same time. 

It is an important feature of -the climatology of Travancore that it 
is mostly free from the track of storms of any kind. The chief causes 
that ooniribute towards this end are its geographical position and its 
natural features providing it with a mighty wall of mountains on its 
eastern border. It is well known that the immediate vicinity of the 
Equator is never frequented by cyclones. According to Mr. Elliot, Lat. 8^ N. 
appears to be the boundary line to the south of which cyclonic stonus 
are seldom or never generated. Further, cyclones do not form so 
generally on land as over sea area,and Travancore is effectively protected 
by its mountains from the few storms that, having originated in the Bay 
of Bengal, enter the Arabian sea across the Peninsula. Mr. Elliot 
says: — ** It is probable that it is only storms which extend to an 
exceptional height into the upper atmosphere which sui-mount this 

obstacle It may be taken as generally true that any storm 

crossing the Peninsula into the Arabian sea, no matter what its original 
or subsequent intensity, w^ill have relatively little influence on the 
weather over the narrow strip of land intervening between the Ghauts 
and the Arabian sea or over the sea adjacent to the west coast of the 
Peninsula." This is because of the circumstance that on the storm 
encountering the Ghauts, the whole of the lower circulation is 
broken up, and the descent subsequently effected is carried out slow- 
ly, not by the sudden and abrupt descent of the disturbance, but 
by a gradual downward extension of the cyclonic motion into the 
unaflEected surface strata of the air. Hence it is not till the cyclone has 
advanced to some distance from the coast-Une that the full effects of the 
phenomenon are experienced, and that the storm becomes fully re- 
cognisable. Thus the occurrences of storms in Travancore are few and far 
between. Besides, it is only a heavy torrential rain accompanied by a 

* Trcvaiidruiii Magnctical Obsei'vatiuu.Sj Vol. 1. 

72 Teavakcore Manual. [Chap. 

barometric depression that is often felt on land as the effect of the passage 
of many a cyclone through the Arabian sea near the Travancore coast. 

Two instances can, however, be traced of severe storms that have 
been felt in Travancore, one in April 1779 and the other in December 1845. 
About the middle of April 1779 a hurricane was felt ofif Anjengo in which 
the East India Company's ship Cruiser was lost. At the close of Novem- 
ber 1845, a cyclonic storm was formed over the Bay of Bengal, which 
passed across the Indian Peninsula and travelled north-westward into 
the Arabian sea. That this storm raged throughout Travancore can be 
inferred from the following excerpts : — 

Tkivandkum. — The wind blew very strongly at 1 a. m. of the 3rd 
December, and a violent gale lasted from 2-30 a. m. to 3 a. m. The wind 
then abated for half an hour after which it recommenced with greater vio- 
lence than ever, and continued till about day-break. Three inches of rain 
fell during the second. The bauometer fell three-tenths of an inch be- 
tween 8 a. m. on the 2nd and 2 a. m. on the 3rd, w^hile it rose upwards 
of 03 inch during the next 7 hours. The barometric readings at Trivan- 
drum during the passage of the storm are given below. 

November 29th 29*930 

30th 29-864 

December 1st 29*844 

2nd 29-960 

3rd 29-990 

4th 29-928 

oth 29-854 

6th 29-822 

QuiLOX.— The Master Attendant wrote: — '-The gale commenced at 
10 i\ M. of the 2nd and continued till 7 a. m. 3rd." 

Alleppey. — The Master Attendant wrote: — *-A gale of wind with 
rain commenced about midnight, 2nd, and continued till day-light, 3rd, when 
it blew a hm-ricane." 

Mr. Bailey wrote to General CuUen from Kottayam : — ** We were 
visited at Kottayam, on the morning of the 3rd instant by the same gale of 
wind to which you refer. Many trees were blown dow^n^ or rather broken 
off near the roots. A good many tiles were blown off the roof of our print- 
ing office. Many persons had very narrow escapes, and three individuals 
at some distance from us lost llieir lives, and it is supposed many more/' 

11. ] Meteorology. T8 

Earthquakes. Earthquake shocks of greater or less intensity have 
passed through some portion or other of the Travancore territory on the 
foUowing dates : — • 

1. February 1823 

2. 19th September 1841 
8. 23rd November 1845 
4. 11th August 1856 
6. 22nd August 1866 

6. 1st September 1856 

7. 10th November 1859 

8. 8th February 1900 

9. 28th May 1903 

A short account of the occurrence of each of these earthquakes is given 
below. : — 

February 1823. This shock was felt at Palamcottah slightly, and 
by the Rev. C. Mault at Nagercoil, and, an account of the shock as felt 
at the latter place was pubhshed in the Madras Government Gazette, by 
Captain Douglas, then stationed at Nagercoil. Nothing further is known 
of this earthquake. 

19th September 1841. The shock as felt at Trivandrum seems to 
have been pretty severe, as the people at church at the time of the shock, 
immediately left it, fearing that the building might come down on them. 
The vessel supplying water to the Wet Bulb thermometer in the Observa- 
tory was shaken off its stand and broken, and several mud houses were 
thrown down in the Fort and elsewhere. It began in the east and passed 
oflf to the west. This shock was felt throughout South Travancore and at 
Palamcottah. The time noted at the Trivandrum Observatory was 11 h. 
20 m. A. M. 

23rd November 1845. Rev. B. Bailey (in a letter to General 
CuUen dated 8th December 1845) wrote : — " On Sunday the 23rd ultimo 
(November) we were visited at about 2 o'clock p. m. by a slight shock of 
earthquake, succeeded by a rumbhng noise resembling that of distant 
thunder... when my house was shaken to the foundation and the whole of 
the beams and timber gave a sudden crack as if the house rocked east and 
west. The shock was felt all over Kottayam". This shock does not 
appear to have been perceived at Trivandrum. 

llTH August 1856. A shock was felt on this date at 5h. 51ra. 25 s. a. m. 
as noted down by the Assistant on watch in the Observatory. The 

74 Ti^AVANcoRE Manual. [ChAP, 

shock la^^ted 20 seconds. The magnetic instniments do not seem to have 
had any vibration or change of mean positions. The shock has 
also been felt at Parassala, Quilon, Com-tallam and Pallam. It was not 
felt near Cape Comorin nor at Nagercoil and Agastyamala. Mr. Broun 
considered that the shock must have come from a direction between 
north and west. 

This earthquake was thus described by Mr. Broun in a letter to the 
Madras A thenaeum in 1856 : — 

" The Assistant in the Trivandrum Observatory^ having the watch on the 
morning refened to (11th April 1856), was entering an observation when he 
heard a low rumbHng sound which he thought at first was distant thunder 
towards the north-east; in about 3 seconds the rafters of the building began 
to crack, the windows to rattle and a mirror resting on the table to shake; he 
immediately looked at the clock and found the time 5h. 51 m. 30s, which allowing 
for the clock error would give the mean Trivandnmi time of the commencement 
of the sound 5h. 51 m. 25s. He then went out to look towards the north-east and 
immediately thereafter the sound ceased with a louder 'boom'; on looking again 
at the clock the time by it was 5h. 54 m. and he estimated the duration of noise 
and shock at nearly 20 seconds. He now examined the magnetical instruments, 
but could perceive neither vibration nor change of mean position. It is not 
impossible however that the magnets might have had swinging or dancing 
motions without being remarked by the obseiTer as vibrations round a vertical 
axis only are noted. An examination by myself since, of the obser\'ation8 made 
before and after the shock, confirms the fact of the steadiness of all the magnets. 
The velocity of the winds from north-west was nearly as usual at the same 
hour; the sky was nine-tenths clouded, the clouds moving from north-west, 
the temperature of the air was nearly 73°, the maximum temperature of the 
day being nearly 78". The shock it seems was felt at Quilon 'about six o'clock' 
and Mr. Liddell at Charlies Hope near the road between Quilon and Court- 
allam says, 'wo had a smart shock of an earthquake about 10 minutes before six 
on Monday morning.' 

** I was on the summit of our highest mountains, the Agustier Malay (about 
30 miles W. N. W. of Trivandrum) on Monday the 11th but did not perceive 
any shock. The testimony on the whole seems to indicate a southerly and 
easterly point as the direction of the origin, all agreeing that the sound was heard 
before the shock was perceived". 

22nd August 1856. The shock was felt at 4h. 25 m. 10 s. p. M. The 
magnetic instruinents were found dancing up and down with sharp jerks and 
a brass weight hanging in a closed box w-as observed by means of a teles- 
cope to dance perceptibly 15 m. after the shock. The shock passed from 
west-north-w^est to east-south-east. The Bifilar magnetometer vibration 
at 4 h. 30m. was 80 scale division, w-hereas at the hours before and 
after, it was only 0*6 scale division. This shock was also felt at Quilon 
about 4 h. and 16 m. and at Pallam. No shock was felt at Cochin or at 
Courtallam, nor to the south of Trivandrum. 

ll. ] Meteokology. 75 

1st September 1856. The time of the shock was 12 h. 44 m. 58 s, 
noon*. The direction of the shock as ascertained by a lead weight hung 
by a silk thread 17 feet long was from N. 30^ W. to S. 30^' E. The 
Bifilar magnetometer vibrated through 14*6 scale divisions at 1 h. 30 m. 
This shock was felt at Cape Comorin, Nagercoil, Neyyur, and the 
Tinnevelly District. It does not seem to have been felt at any place 
north of Trivandrum. 

10th November 1859. A shock was felt at 10 h. 31 m. 47 s. a. m. 
both the Unifilar and the Bifilar magnetometers were observed to dance 
up and down. The long pendulum refei-red to above had a slight motion 
from N. 30^ W. to S. 30^ E. 

8th February 1900. A pretty severe shock was felt at 2h. 5(i m. 
A. M. On this date the magnetic instruments were not observed. The 
shock was felt to pass from N. to S. 

28th May 1903. A slight shock was felt at 2h. 4(3m. p. m. The mag- 
netometers were visibly affected, and the Bifilar vibrated through 10*7 
scale divisions. 

Besides the above, the magnetic instruments in the Observatory Jiave 
often indicated the occurrence of earthquakes elsewhere but not felt in 
Travancore. The most important of such indications were those of the 
shock that passed through the Districts of Madura and Tinnevelly on 
March 17th 185G and the famous Calcutta earthquake of 12th June 1897. 
An examination of the magnetometer observation on the night of the 
17th March 1856 at Trivandrum and Agastyamala shows that the shock 
may have passed the line of the Ghauts and Trivandrum before lib. 30 m. 
p. M. Mr. Broun says, "the time of the night and the little hibit the 
natives have of observing, may partially explain the fact that the shock 
■was not felt at Trivandrmn". 


In a letter published at Page 113, Vol. I New scriei*, of the Madras Journal of LitLraturc 
Science, Mr. Broun, the then Govenimeut Astronomer gives the time as 15 m. s. aficr 


'• llightcous Rama, soft-eyed }Hita, and the jifallaut Laknlimau btoml 
In the wildenicssot' Dandak, — trackless, pathless, boundless wood, 
But within its j^loomy j^orges, dark and deep and known to few, 
Humble homes of hermit sajres rose before the princv»s' view. 

• « « * • 

Creepers threw their claspin*^ tendrils round the trees of ample hei^j^ht, 
Stately palm and feathered cocoa, fruit and blossom pleased the sight, 
Herds of tame and gentle creatures in the grassy meadow strayed, 
Kokih sang in leafy thicket, birds of plumage lit the shade. 
Limpid lakes of scented lotus with their fragrance tilled the air. 
Homos and huts of rustic beauty peeped through bushes green and fair, 
Blossoms rich in tint and fragi*ance in the checkered shadow gleamed, 
Clustering fruits of golden beauty iu the yellow sunlight beamed! " 

liam<ujana (li. C. Dutt.). 

The special characteristics of Travancore flora are its diversity, beailty 
and economic value. The peculiar climate of the country, its rich forest soil 
and the extraordinary rainfall foster the growth of the several species of 
the indigenous trees and shrubs. From tlie middle of June to the middle 
of December the hills and plateaus are filled with rank vegetation and 
present a rich green appearance. During this pei-jod several valleys are 
impei^vious to men and some glens are inaccessible even to day-light. 
Hundreds of shrubs rise in the shade of the gigantic trees and entwine 
themselves with the climbing creepers that almost cover the trees. The 
rains cease with the beginning of December and most of these shrubs and 
creepers probably die before January closes. In the hot months, the dried 
underwood may be seen burning on all the hill tops. These fires are 
sometimes caused by excessive heat of the sun but more often by the 
hill Kanis for pui'poses of cultivation. 

Of the forest trees, the Teak is the most valuable, being fit for all 
purposes where strength and durability are required. The Poon is found 
in the less accessible spots and is specially fitted for masts by its 
height and straightness. The Anjili afifords excellent planks which are 
largely used in house-building. The stately Cotton tree is generally 
used for boat-making. The Arayanjili and the Caryota yield good fibres 
specially adapted to the manufacture of cordage and ropes. The Bamboo 
and the allied reeds are plentiful on the river banks. The wild Mango, 
the wild Jack, and the black, red and iron wood trees are common 
everywhere; those yielding gamboge, dragon's blood, MuttipjHil and other 

Fopejst View, PalloSe. 


Photo by J. B. D*Cruz. 

Chap. III.] 1^'loka. 77 

kinds of aromatic gums are met with amongst the species of resin trees. 
Travancore seems to' be the home of the Pahn of which there are at least 
six species in the forests, two cultivated — the Bo r ass us flabelliformis or 
Palmyra palm and the Corypha unhraculifera or the Talipot palm, and 
four wild — i\\eJPinanga dichroniiy Caryota urenSj Bentmckia condapana 
and Arenga wightii. 

The plains are not so thickly wooded and in certain places are bare as 
in parts of South Travancore, though this part of the country and the 
adjacent districts of Pandi must have been at one time covered with dense 
jungle. The low country trees are of the ordinary type and there is a 
lamentable absence of good fruit trees. The Jack and the Mango, general- 
ly of the inferior sort, are met with in every compound and garden. The 
Palmyra abounds in South Travancore as does the Cocoanut in Central and 
North Travancore ; the Tamarind is but poorly represented considering 
the facilities for its growth. The Bamboo is practically unknown in the 
plains though the banks of rivers and channels afiford fine soil for its 
growth. The avenue trees are chiefly Banyan, Arasu, Poo-arasu, Iclii and 
Naval interspersed occasionally with the Mango, Jack and Tamarind. There 
is a large variety of medicinal plants, and those yielding fibres, gums, 
resins, and dyes, a reference to which will be made later on. 

Mr. T. F. Bourdillon, the Conservatoi* of Forests, after commenting 
on the similarity of the flora of Travancore and Assam thus observes in 
an interesting article on the Flora of Travancore* : — 

" Prom this it is'reasonable to infer that one continuous forest of uniform 
character stretched from the west coast of India to Assam and Burma, and that 
the plants now found in the opposite extremes of India are the descendants 
of a common ancestor. The forests that still remain are the relic and the 
development of the great forest that covered the continent, and in the interests of 
science, the preservation of these remains from complete destruction has not come 
a day too soon." 

Of the general characteristics of the Travancore flora, he writes : — 

** Undoubtedly the most remarkable feature of the forests of Travancore is 
the extent and variety of the Flora. Many writers have commented on the small 
number of the species in temperate and arctic climates as compared with the 
variety of species in tropical countries from the time that Darwin published his 
'Voyage round the world.' Readers of that inimitable work will remember his 
description of the dark and sodden forests that clothe the Island of Tierra del 
Fuego, composed of one species of tree only. 

" The most recent authority who has referred to the subject is Gamble, in 
his preface to the new edition of his Manual of Indian Timbers. He there places 

* The Malalmr (^uarti'ily Krvicw Jinic MHrJ. 

78 Tkavancoke Manual. [Chap. 

* the limiting lumiher oC species in the woody vegetation of India at 5,000. This 
includes shrubs and climbers as well as trees. With this he compares the 397 
species mentiojied in the Forest Flora of IjVance, which includes many quite small 
j)lants, and the 134 species mentioned in Hooker's Student's Flora, as oocurring 
in England. 

" Now in Travancore more than 600 species of trees are known to occur 
which attain a height of 20 feet and upwards, excluding climbers and bushes of 
all sorts, and so little do we know of the trees that inhabit the interior that it is 
very probable that another 50 to 60 species will be added to the Hst when all 
parts of the forests have been explored. We may say that in this State which 
covers an area of about 7,000 square miles, there are to be found no fewer than 
700 kinds of trees or one new kind of tree for ever\- 10 square miles. When it 
is remembered that about half of the area is open inhabited country, ricli in 
paddy fields and cocoanut topes and watered by numerous lakes and rivers, the 
variety of species becomes the more remarkable. This variety is due no doubt 
to differences of elevation from — 9,000 feet and to differences of aspect and of 
rainfall, for according to the locality, the rain falls in different months, and the 
amount varies from 20 inches to 300 during the year. But there is the result, 
this astonishing wealth of species, surely nowhere equalled in any other part of 
the w^orld. 

" In one respect this great variety of species nuiy be looked on as an advan- 
tage, in another as a disadvantage. Among so many hundreds — nay thousands 
of trees and shrubs and herbs, there might be a large number capable of pro- 
ducing useful products — timber or fruits, gums, oils, or medicines. The field of 
work is wide — the results to be obtained both useful and interesting. Who will 
devote himself to the study? And it nuist be rememl)ered that there is no fina- 
lity about the work. W^e may examine one species of tree or plant and decide 
that it has no properties which will ever be of any use to man, and the timber, 
the fruit and tlie n*sin may be regarded in the present state of our knowledge 
as worthless. Let us therefore destroy the plant wherever found, to make way 
for the betters. But next year some chemical discovery may bring to light the 
fact that this very despised plant has certain properties possessed l)y no others,* 
such for instance as the peculiar property of dulling the taste of sweet things, 
possessed by the pretty little creeper Cymuehttt ^njlvrsfrr. One of the commonest 
trees in our low country' foi*ests is the Charei or Chera, Holifjarna fen'iiginea. 
From its stem, from its leaves and from its fruit issues a blistering juice, of 
which nothing is known at present except that when it touches the skin of cer- 
tain pei*sons, the results are swelling and much pain. The immediate conclusion 
to be arrived at is that such a tree should be exterminated wherever found, for 
its timber is soft and worthless and is not suitable even for fuel, but who can 
say tiiat within a dozen yeat^ we shall not be asked to collect the acrid juice of 
this tree as a valuable medical agent ? Tti this way the great vtuiety of our 
Flora is interesting because it opens up such a wide field for study, and because 
it foreshadows the great possibilities and the great discoveries yet to be made. 

"But from another point of view the variety is a disadvantage. In his 
re|x>rt on the Forests of Ceylon written some 20 years ago, Mr. Vincent express- 
ed the opinion that not niojc than 2 per cent of the species of trees to be found 
in Ceylon were of any conunercial value, and judged by the standard of our 
present knowledge, t\\v. pro]K)rtion of useful trees in Travancore is very small. 
There is an unlimited deniiuul for certain timbei*s, but for others, hardly inferior 
to the favoured ones, and much ap])reciated in other parts of India, there is no 
demand. Who will b<^ so eiiteiprising as to ex)K'riment with the despised 
woods? Many times have we offered them for sale, and pmised their good 


Fr.oRA. 79 

qualities, but in vain. The ordinary limber mercliant will buy tlio 20 kinds 
which he knows readily. All the rest are ' Palmaram ', useless species to him 
and only to be consumed as fuel. 

"It has often been said that the trees and plants of. India have no flowers 
and that such flowers as they have are without scent, and that except for the 
mango and the pine-apples there is no fruit worth eating. This by comparison 
with Europe. But the comparison is hardly fair. The tinith is that the wild 
products of the one continent are as good as those of the other. Our cultivated 
plants and fruits are indeed vastly inferior to those of Europe, and the reason 
is not far to seek. They have not been selected and improved in the way that 
they have been improved in Europe, because the class of market gardeners and 
florists, and that of wealthy landowTiers interested in scientific aginculture does 
not exist in India, but the material from which to evolve the better product is 
not wanting. 

** It is in the spring time that in Europe the earth puts on her garment of 
beautiful flowers. Our spring time is in September. It is then that the gi'assy 
uplands are covered with balsams, with white and pink orchids and yellow 
stone-crop. Most of the herbaceous plants blossom then, the pleasantest time 
of the year when the rains have poured their water on the soil, and the air is 
cool with soft breezes. So far as the wild flowers go, I do not think that 
Travancore is far l^ehind other countries. We have no prinu'oses or violets 
with their sweet scent but we have many beautiful orchids and others such as 
lilies, and amar\'llis all awaiting the art of the horticulturist to improve them 
almost out of recognition. 

** As regards fruits, we have the wild Jack and Mango which bear insipid 
or acid fruit in the wild state. The diflerence between the w^ild and the culti- 
vated forms shows what can be done by cultivation. One of our commonest 
trees in the forests is the Longan — Nephdium Joiifjuna — which in China produces 
a fruit of great excellence. It is largely exported fiom that country. The wild 
fruit is the size of the top of the thumb, roimd and wrinkled. Its appearance 
would not lead one to suppose that it could ever be improved into a fruit for the 
dessert table. The hillmen recognise many other fruits as lit for food even in 
their wild state. Some of them are not bad eating, and arc at least much better 
than the wild mango. Perhaps the best of these is the fruit of Chnsm},/ 
fcUJdenovii — the 'Potti* of the Hillmen, of which Beddome said, it is 'very deli- 
cious, as large as a large cherry, succulent as a grape, and somewhat of the flavour 
of black currant'. The fruit is not unlike a white gi'ape but instead of growing 
in bunches, 6 or 8 fruits grow along a conmion stalk. This and many other 
wild fruits are w^ell worthy of improvement and cultivation but this Clausena in 
particular. It does not like being moved from tiie climate and surroundings in 
which it is generally found. 

"The vegetation and Flora of Travancore are of exceptional interest first, be- 
cause they are the relic and development of flora which was at one time uniform 
over a large part of India, secondly, because of the extraordinary variety of 
species occurring w4thin a small area, and thirdly because many of these species 
have been taken as types of plants with which others from all parts of the world 
have been compared." 

This chapter * is treated under the following heads : — 

• The information for this chapter is based on Mr. Bourdillon'R exhaustive "Report on the 
Forests of Travancore" and his "Notes on some of the coninioner trees of the Tmvaneore fon'sts ', 
Dmry's "Useful plants of India", and Balfour's "Timber trees of India". The draft as 
originally prepared, from which this one is condensed, has lieen kindly corrected by Mr. 
Bonrdillon himself. 

80 Tr.waxcork Manual. [Chap. 

(1) Valuable timber trees 

(*2) Trees yielding gums, resins, and dyes 

(3) Avenue trees 

(4) Cycads and palms 

(5) Bamboos and reeds 

(6) Fibrous plants 

(7) Medicinal plants 

(8) Flowering and Ornamental plants 

Valuable timber trees. There are nearly 650 indigenous trees 
in the forests of Travancore. This number includes many species occurring 
in North India and others peculiar to Ceylon. The uses only of a very few 
trees are known in Travancore. Others are considered useless and are 
popularly known as Pahnarangal. In other parts of India these trees are 
highly valued. As the trees which are now considered valuable are 
getting rarer, the latter trees will in future be looked upon by the people 
as valuable and will be utilized. 

1. Teak, Tekku — Tectono grandis. 

This is rightly called " the monarch of the woods " as it is the most 
highly-priced timber under favourable circumstances and is perhaps the 
most useful of all the timber trees of India. It generally grows to a height 
of 80 to 100 feet to the first branch with a girth of 22 feet. In Travancore 
the tree seldom attains a height of more than 50 feet to the fork and a girth 
of 10 feet. It thrives best with a rainfall of from 120 to 150 inches and in a 
temperature ranging from 60 ° to 90 ^ and attains its maturity in from 80 
to 100 years and is sometimes found 400 years old. It grows in open forest, 
wants much room and light and never occurs in heavy moist forest from 
sea-level up to 8,000 feet elevation. The teak tree is usually found with 
such trees as Dalbergia lafi/olia, Pterocarpus viarsupiuin, Tenninalia 
panicuJata, Anogeissus latifolia, Schhichera trijuga, Gmelina arborea, 
Sferospermum xylocarpum, Careija arboreay Phyllanthtis emblica and 
others. It grows best at an elevation of 1,000 — 2,000 feet. The Idiyara 
valley has long been celebrated for the quality and size of its teak. Fifty or 
sixty years must pass after plantation before the tree can yield service- 
able timber. The wood is brown in colour and when fresh sawn has the 
fragrance of rosewood — hard yet light, easily worked, strong and durable 
though porous. Its strength and durability are well known ; for house- 
building and furniture it is the best of woods. 

The Malabar teak is generally esteemed the For 
ship -building purposes, it is superior to every other sort of wood, being 

m.] FLOltA. g| 

Ufl^t, sM^opg aaid durable whether in or out of water and lienoe it is exten- 
|ivil)y a8#4 ^9^ that purpose. A cubic foot of seasoned wood weighs about 
4Q tt>s., ti^t qi ua^eagoned 55 lbs. or more. Burma teak is much lighficr ai}^ 
kole te|^ |8 heavier. A commercially valuable oil is extracted from t)x§ 
teak veood. 

JCqIc teak 19 teak occurring in hard and unsuitable soil and ^ence 
fP^QfWVm^ob m<»:ethan 3 feet in girth. Most of the teak in the low counfary 
if Ifdi^ tef^ aj|d its wood is close-grained and heavier than the ordinary 

2, Malabar Blackwood (Rosewood) , Eattie — Dalbergia latifolia. 

There are two species which yield blackwood, found in Tr^vWr 
99ine, ¥iz., D, lapifolia and Z). sissoides. It attains an enormous size i|} 
])falal>ar and is often crpoked. It is one of the most valuable trees fit 
^iifi Tro^y^ncore fprests. It is heavy and close-grained admitting of fii^ie 
poli^l^ and is much used for furniture but seldom for building. 
The wood is white externally; in the centre of the trunk and t^ 
large branches it is purple or purplish black, often mottled or with light 
eoloured veins running in various directions. The tree grows to a height of 
60 to 80 feet and requires a temperature slightly cooler than that in which 
teak thrives, with a rainfall averaging from 50 to 150 inches. In strengj^h 
it excels teak, but is very scarce and of slow growth, and les^ 
adapted for plantation than the teak. It does not seem to prefer any 
particular soil. It grows in the Travancore hills at an elevation of 
0-3,600 £eet and prefers a rather higher elevation than teak. One cubic foot 
f^ feaspned wood weighs 52 lbs ; unseasoned 60 - 6G lbs. 

8. Ebony, Karungali — Diospyros assimilis. 

This is a large tree 80 or 90 feet in height and 6 or 8 feet in girth 
grovraig in the Travancore forest at an elevation of 0-2,000 feet. IJ 
requires a cpn^iderable rainfall, but still it is very sparingly distributed, yhe 
heart-wood is black, hard and heavy, and is most valuable. In strength it 
excels teak. It is not much used as a building material for the pimple 
reason that wood of this kind, more than 6 inches square, is very seldom 
obtained. When young the wood is white, but as the tree advances in age 
t|)ie black portion increases until at last in the later stages of its growth 
^e black heart is of considerable size. But there is always a l£urg^ 
quantity of sap-wood even in old trees. It is used chiefly for omamepjb^) 
work, furniture, inlaying, mathematical instuments, rulers &c. 

The tree is of very slow growth. More than 100 years should ejlapse 

82 Thavancokk Mant'al, [Chap. 

before an ebony tree attains a diameter of 1 foot. It is not suited for 
plantations. There are nearly 20 other kinds of Diospyros, but none of 
them have blackwood except D. ebenum whixjh is extremely rare. One 
cubic foot of seasoned wood weighs 81 lbs; unseasoned 90-100 lbs. 

4. Sandalwood — Sajitalum album. 

This small tree (height never more than 20 feet) grows in the Tra- 
vancore hills at an elevation of 3,000 feet, and is celebrated for its highly 
scented and valuable timber. It is very sparingly distributed in Travan- 
core, being found only in the Anchanad valley. Three varieties of sandal- 
wood are known in commerce, the white, the yellow, and the red — the two 
former coming under Santalum album now under notice. The timber is 
eminently fitted for carving and pther ornamental work such as small 
boxes, walking sticks, pen-holders and other fine articles. From 
this wood is produced the paste Chandanam which is used by 
Hindus for their caste marks. A valuable oil is distilled from the 
wood, 1 pound of the wood yielding about 2 drams of oil. The fragrance 
increases as the tree advances in age. 

This also is a tree of slow growth, reaching its full development in 
60 to 100 years, by which time the tree will have a diameter of one foot 
of heart- wood. It is well adapted for plantations if suitable land is select- 
ed, i. e., land with good soil and elevation not less than 1,000 feet and a 
light rainfall of 20 to 50 inches. 

5. Anjili, Ayani — Arfocarpus hirsvta. 

Thu lolty and liandsome tree (height 100-160 feet, girth 16 feet) grows 
in the Travancore forests at an elevation of 0-8,000 feet. It yields the 
valuable wood so well known on this coast for house-building, furniture, 
frame works, boats etc. It grows very rapidly on yellow loam with a 
rainfall exceeding 60 inches, reaching its maturity in 25 to 40 years. Its 
wood is bright yellow turning to brown with age, very straight-grained 
and free from knots and takes a fine polish. The bark yields a brown 
dye and the fruit is edible. The tree is well suited for plantations. 
Weight of seasoned wood 42 lbs. a cubic foot ; unseasoned 48 lbs. 

6. Thambagam — Hapea parviflora. 

This lofty tree (height 100 feet, girth 15 feet) thrives best in heavy 
forest at an elevation of from 800 to 8,000 feet. It is also found to some 
extent along the banks of rivers in the low country. The wood is close- 
grained, heavy and yellow becoming darker with age. It is used for 
bridges and buildings of all sorts and occasionally for boats. It stands 

m.] VhoiiA. 88 

exposure when sawn into scantlings but cracks if sawn into thin planks. 
It is not attacked by white ants. 

This tree grows nearly as fast as Anjili but is difficult to raise from 
seed. It is well suited for plantations. 

7. Venga — Pterocarpiis marsupium. 

This is a large and very beautiful "tree, especially when in flower 
at the beginning of the rains (height 80 to 90 feet, girth 10 feet). 
It yields one of the most abundant and useful timbers, the Venga wood 
of South India. It is widely diffused and is found in large numbers in the 
forests of Travancore. It grows best on stiff soil at an elevation of 
0-3,000 feet and is found in company with Eattie, Thembavu and other 
trees. It is foimd in abundance where teak is scarce. It is a fast grower 
and attains maturity in about 60 to 80 years and grows to double that age, 
but is not suited for plantation as it is not gregarious. The timber is as 
strong as teak, heavier, and less liable to split after long exposure. The 
colour of the wood is dirty yellow darkening with exposure. It is never 
used for house-building in Travancore, as, when wet or unseasoned, it im- 
parts a yellow stain and gives out to wet lime a dark rusty brown colour. 
It is specially useful for fine furniture and resembles fine Mahogany but 
must be well seasoned to avoid the yellow stain. Seasoned wood weighs 
56 lbs. a cubic foot ; unseasoned 65-70 lbs. 

This tree yields a resinous substance which is exported in large 
quantities. This is the gum Kino of commerce used largely for dyeing 
and calico-printing. 

8. Thembavu — Terminalia tomentuisa. 

This is another huge tree (height SO to 120 feet, girth 12 feet) grow- 
ing in open grass forest at an elevation of 0-3,000 feet in company with 
blackwood, teak and other trees. Its growth is fairly fast ; it reaches 
maturity in 80-100 years and lives for more than 200 years. The wood 
is dark brown, hard and heavy, and is much used for house-building. In 
matured trees, the wood is exceedingly heavy, of the same weight as water 
and is not easily worked. It is a disappointing timber. Its strength and 
durability are uncertain or it would be used even more largely than it is. 
The weight of seasoned wood is 60 lbs. a cubic foot, and that of unseasoned 
75-80 lbs. 

The ashes of the burned bark produce a kind of chunam which con- 
tains much potash. The bark is used in tanning and the leaves for 

d4 Thavancokk Manual. [CniJi 

irianuring the paddy fields. The leaves fonii the food of the Tussw 
worin. A dyeing substance is obtained from the bark of tliifi fee* UtikA 
is used for brown colouring. 

9. White Cedar, Vellai Agil — Dysoxylum malabaricum. 

This lofty tree (height 120 feet, girth 16 feet) is found only on the Wert 
Coast of India from Ganara to Cape Comorin and there, it is abundant 
and well distributed. It grows in moist forest at an elev&tion of 
0-3,000 feet and attains its greatest size at an elevation of 1,400 feet. 
The wood is pale yellow with a smooth silky vein, sweet-Bc6nted ana 
easily worked and is used for oil casks. It does not stand eXj^Sturd. 
Seasoned wood weighs 42 lbs. a cubic foot ; unseasoned 52 lbs. 

The cedar is a tree of moderate growth, 500 years being the limit of its 
life; it grows more rapidly in its younger stages. 

10. Red Cedar, Madagiri Vembu — Cedrela toona. 

This large and valuable tree (height 60 feet) is abundant in IVf^ 
vancore. It grows at an elevation of 0-4,000 feet and is common ofl! the 
Peermade hills. This is well suited for plantations and grows well witft 
Anjili. The wood, coarse, red and sweet-scented, is used for furniture of idl 
kinds, house-building and carving and is called the ** Mahogany of India** 
which it resembles closely, though lighter and not so close inthegraiii. tt 
admits of fine polish. It is used also for tea boxes, shingles and cigar boxes. 

11. Ventekku — Lagerstnemia lanceolata. 

This is a large tree with a straight stem, (height 120 feet, girth 12 
feet) , with a smooth, very pale bark scaling oflf in thin flakes not much 
thicker than paper and found only on the West Coast from Bombay to Cape 
Comorin. It grows to its largest size in the forests of the north at a low 
elevation of 200 to 300 feet; it is never found in the dense moist forests. 
It Hves for more than 200 years but grows very slowly and is not tiiere^ 
fore suited for plantations. The wood is light brown, straight-fibred and 
elastic but splits easily. It is not strong and does not stand exposure t0 
the weather. 

12. Jack, Chakka or Pilavu — Ariocarpus integrifolin. 

This valuable fruit and timber tree is much planted and grows large* 
ly all over Travancore. It grows best in rich red soil with a rainfall of 
not less than 50 inches. It grows rapidly when young, but after it has 
attained a diameter of 2 feet its growth is slow. It lives for more than 200 
years. It is much cultivated in the luw lands for fruits and along the 

m.] Flora. 85 

roods for shade. It attains a height of about 80-100 feet with thick 
i^teadiitg benches. The fruit is very large weighing from 30 to 40 lbs. 
Vim gp&bn irwi ii need in curries. The tree bears fruit in about 7 
yaxBi Hke bmta appearing in all parts even at the very root. Henee 
flie pnrbverb:— ^ **'ooLi5n^d)0»ii<A j^&si <sa\ro)ejo ^y^^oy 

The w6od is excellent and is highly valued; it is yellow when cut, 
aftef^atds chc^ging into dull red or mahogany colour. It admits of fine 
^diUb. It is used both for building purposes and for furniture of various 
kinds, such as chairs, tables &c., musical instruments and ornamental 
work. Of late years jack wood has been superseded by blackwood in the 
matter of furniture making. The weight of seasoned wood is 42 lbs. a 
cubic foot; ufiseasoned 50 lbs. 

There are several varieties of the Jack tree, but what is called Varik- 
ka or the honey Jack is the sweetest and best. The fruits yield a good 
red dye. 

13. Iful — Kodaxylia dolabriformis. 

This tree is not found in South Travancore, but is common in North 
Travancore. It is a large tree growing to a height of 80-100 feet with a 
giirth of 9 feet. It is always found in company with teak and requires a 
fain&n of not less than 100 inches. The wood is dark red, hard, heavy, 
durable and close-grained but not easily worked. It is used for boats, sleep- 
ers, posts, carts, house-building etc. It lasts a long time under water 
and is hence used in the construction of bridges, but in small scantling 
it is inclined to split and warp if exposed. It is however not much 
valued in Travancore. The weight of seasoned wood is S8 lbs. a cubic foot; 
tmseasoned 70 lbs.« 

14. Mayila — Vitex altissinm. 

This is a large tree with a height of 80 feet and a girth of 12 feet, widely 
disftibuted thj^oughout Travancore at all elevations between sea-level and 
BjOOD feet. It is a moderately fast grower. It increases in diameter 
1 iach in 5 years and hves to be nearly 300 years old. The wood is hard, 
durable and flexible, with a coarse grain, is light brown in colour and does 
not BpKt nor Warp. It is highly esteemed in other parts of India for build- 
ings, carts &c., but here in Travancore the people prefer other trees for 
such piorposes. The unseasoned wood weighs 63 lbs. a cubic foot, and sea- 
soned wood 53 lbs. 

The Vernacular name covers two other varieties viz., Vitex pubescens 
and V. leticoxylon, 

86 Travancork Manual. [Chap. 

15. Maujakadainbu — Adina cordifolia. 

This lofty tree (height 100 feet, girth 9-16 feet) is found only in the 
open moist forests between sea-level and 3,000 feet elevation ; it is parti- 
cularly abundant and reaches a very large size in the forests near Konniynr 
and in North Travancore. The wood is light yellow seasoning to nut 
brown, close-grained, smooth and light, and admits of a fine polish but does 
not stand exposure to water. It is used for building, furniture, boxes, 
turnings &c., in other parts of India, but in Travancore it is not much used. 
Weight of seasoned wood 42 lbs. a cubic foot ; unseasoned 50 lbs. 

16. Ceylon Oak, Puvan — Schleichera trijuga. 

This is a large handsome tree of slow growth (height 100 feet, girth 
15 feet). It lives to a great age of nearly 300 years but is not suited for plant- 
ation as its growth is too slow and its value too small. It is found in Tra- 
vancore with Irul, Maruthu &c., on the deciduous forests 0-2,000 feet. Its 
wood is strong and durable, seasons and polishes well and is used for 
carts, sugar and oil mills, and a variety of other useful purposes. Weight 
67 lbs. a cubic foot. 

17. MeLnimQ,vuth\x~La(jcrstro:mia floa- regina. 

This is a medium-sized tree of verj^ ornamental appearance on 
account of its handsome pink flowers, found along the banks of streams 
and in the open forests. It lives to be nearly 200 years old. Its wood is 
pale red, tough and very durable under water but it decays imder ground 
and is seldom used in Travancore. Seasoned wood weighs 38 lbs. and 
unseasoned 48 lbs. a cubic foot. Silkworms feed on the leaves of this tree. 

18. Mango, Mavu — Mangifera indica. 

This useful tree is found wild in our moist forests at all elevations 
up to 2,000 feet. In the low country it is much planted for its fruit. It 
is not a very rapid grower and lives for a century and a half. The VTild 
fruit is hardly edible but the low country fruit is very wholesome and 
when unripe is nmch used in curries, preserves &c. Its flowering time 
is January, February and March and the fruits ripen from May to July, 
There are several varieties found in Travancore. The wood, dull grey 
and porous, is very serviceable for planks when not exposed to wet and 
hence much used for house purposes. It can also be used for canoes as 
it bears the action of salt watei- well. Seasoned wood weighs 42 lbs. a 
cubic foot and unseasoned 55 lbs. The leaves form an excellent food tor 

19. Malampuuna — Calophyllam tome)dosum . 

This is a handsome troo <>f very larrre size reaching a height of 120 

m.] Floka. 87 

feet or more and a girth of 10 feet, found all through Travancore in the 
dense evergreen forests from 300 feet elevation to 400 feet. It requires 
a rainfall of not less than 100 inches and thrives on very poor soil where 
no other tree will succeed. The wood is reddish, loose-grained, long-fibred 
and elastic. In the coffee and tea plantations it is used for reapers, pack- 
ing cases, rough planking and furniture; its chief use however is for spars 
of vessels, its great length, lightness, straightness and elasticity making 
it most suitable for thispurpose; a single spar sometimes realises 1,000 Rs., 
but the demand is uncertain and unequal. The Pinnakai oil so largely 
used for burning lamps is made from the seeds of the Alexandrine 
Laurel, Calophyllum inophylluvi, a small tree abundantly planted in 
the low country. 

20 Cheeni — Tetrartules nudiflora. 

This is a very lofty tree (height 120 feet) with grey shining bark and 
small flowers, widely distributed in Travancore. It requires a very 
heavy rainfall, grows very fast and lives for more than 200 years. Its 
wood, dirty white, exceedingly light, soft and even-grained, takes a good 
poUsh and paint and is used for canoes, boats and catamarans, carved 
toys &c. , but it is neither strong nor durable and white ants eat it. This 
tree is not suited for plantations on account of its low vakie. 

21. Pathiri — Stereospennum chelonoides. 

This is another large and handsome tree (height 100 feet, girth 8 
feet) with very beautiful pinkish flowers and occurs in Travancore from 
sea-level up to 3,000 feet both in the dense moist forests of the hills and 
in the open forests and in grass land, associated with teak and other trees. 
It is much planted on account of its ornamental appearance. Its wood, 
orange or reddish brown, is close and even-gmined, elastic, durable and 
easily worked, gives a smooth surface and is used for house-building and 
for furniture and makes excellent fuel. This is a moderately fast growing 
tree and lives for more than a century. Seasoned wood weighs 48 lbs. a 
cubic foot; unseasoned 58 lbs. 

22. Cotton Tree, Ilavu — Bomhax malabaricum. 

This large and stately tree (height 150 feet or more, girth 18 or 20 
feet) with very large and showy flowers occurs in Travancore from sea- 
level up to 3,000 feet attaining its greatest height and girth in moist 
forests at the foot of the hills. Its wood is whitish, coarse-grained and 
brittle, but stands the action of water well and is hence used for floating 
rafts and packing boxes. Cotton or the wool of the pods is used for 
stuffing pillows, cushions &c. This is a fast-growing tree and lives for 

86 Travancouk Manual. [Chaf. 

more than 200 years. Silkworms feed on the leaves of this tree Md tb^ 
large honey bee makes its nest chiefly in this tree. 

28. Karuntagara or Vaga — Alhizzia procera. 

This is a moderate-sized, fast-growing tree (height 30 feot^ |Pf$b 
6 feet) I occurring in moist situations as on river banks. It flourishes \)^ 
in open situations and is not found south of Trivandruip. T^ ^§r 
wood is yellowish white and not durable while the heart-wx)od is bspvn^ 
straight and even-grained, seasons well, works freely, an4 !9dmit9 gi fine 
polish and is hence good for furniture, boxes, agricultural implem^ts pt^. 
Weight averages 46 lbs. a cubic foot. 

These are the most valuable timber trees of Travancore. Among the 
other useful trees employed in the low country and having son^e if^ket 
value may be mentioned the following : — 

1. Malakanjiram — Anogeissus latifolia. 

This tree is common in the drier districts of South Travancore asd 
on the Peermade hills near Kambam and in the deciduous forests near 
Eonniyur. The wood is dark-coloured and strong and is used for bandy pdes 
and agricultural implements. A valuable gum is obtained from its stem 
which is used in cloth-printing and its leaves are used for tanning. 

2 Ironwood, Nangu — Mesuaferrea. 

This tree is abundant in the evergreen forests from Or6,000 feet. Ito 
wood is very heavy, hard and durable; but for its great weight it Tfould be 
more commonly used for building. It gives out great heat when hxffni 
and makes first rate charcoal. 

3. Nedunar — Polyalthia fragrans. This is a straight tree 4biu»d|»4 
in the forests of North Travancore. The wood is light and very elaetie 
and is very well adapted for masts and yards. 

4 Shurali — Hardwickia binata. A very large tree yielding tiniber 
of an excellent quality for beams and a variety of uses, found only on the 
Western Ghauts from South Canara to Cape Comorin. The wood is 
brown and exudes a sticky oil resembling Copaiba balsai^ for which li may 
be substituted. 

5. Indian Copal, Payin — Vateria indica. This beautiful faree which 
is so much planted in gardens and along avenues for the fragraoee 
of its flowers and which is very abundant in the moist forests, is some* 
times cut for boats. It is better known for its gum called white dammer, 
an excellent varnish resembling copal 

m.] Floka. 89 

6. Malavuram — Picrospermum ruhiginosum and P. hajncamun. 
These are felled for building and boats; the former especially is said to be 
very good wood and is an exceedingly handsome tree. 

7. Kalasan — Odina icodier. This is a small-sized tree with a light 
teddish wood, very useful for furniture and house-building. 

8. KoUamavu — Machilus macrantha. A moderate-sized tree of 
light wood growing in the moist forests, much used for boats. 

9. Arayanjili — Antiaris toxicaria. An immense tree- of the dense 
moist forests with light wood, not strong or durable, used for boats, tea 
boxes Ac. Its inner bark is compossd of very strong tenacious fibres and 
seems excellently fitted for cordage and matting. 

10. Aval — Holoptclea integrifolia. Another tree of immense size 
common in the moist forests of the north. The wood is light and fairly 
durable if smoked; it is sawn into planks or fashioned into boats. 

11. Venkotta — Lophopetalum wif/htianion. A lofty tree found in 
the evergreen forests and on river banks U-3000 feet. Wood is 
light, white, useful and durable if smoked. 

12. Mukkampala — Alstonia scholaris. A large and handsome tree 
common in the deciduous forests 0-3000 feet with a milky juice ; wood 
white, and very light but not durable, used for rough planking. 

13. Palagapayani — Oroxijhim indicum, A tree of moderate size, 
occasionally cut into boats. 

14. Maruthu or Pumaruthu — Tcrminalia paniculata. A large tree 
and one of the commonest of the deciduous forests. Wood is strong and 
durable but not much appreciated in Travancore, used for buildings to 
a small extent. 

15. Kanakaitha. Two botanical names come under this, viz., 
Miliusa velutinu and Bocagea dalzelli. These are very elastic 
woods which may be used for carriage shafts, spear handles and 
such purposes. The former is found in the deciduous forests, while the 
latter occurs only in the moist forests. 

16. Kar Anjili — Dipterocarpus bourdilloni. A large tree resembling 
Anjili, generally felled for boats; grows in the moist forests of North 

17. Mulluvenga — Bridelia retusa. Wood hard and heavy, used 
only to a limited extent in Travancore, though much valued in other 

90 Travaxcore MANrAT. [Chap, 

18. Pambarakumbil — Treiria nu(lijt4)m. A moderate-sized tree, 
possessing light wood used for carving ; the image put up in Roman Ca- 
tholic churches is commonly made of this timber. 

These are the only trees yielding timber commercially valuable; many 
other trees there are, indigenous to the country, used for rough house* 
building, for posts or for the construction of jungle wood-roofs but they 
have no commercial value and are used only by the poor or for temporary 

The following is a list of trees exclusively used by the planters living 
at elevations between 1500 and 4000 feet : — 

1. Kattu Iluppa or Pala, of which there are two species viz., 
Dichopsis elliptica and ChnjHophylhun roxhurghii. The latter has 
very poor timber, while the former yields a reddish brown timber with 
straight gi*ain, easily worked when young, but hardening with age, and 
used for shingles. A sticky milky juice exudes from both of them, which 
is commercially valuable. 

2. Puthankalli — Popriloneuron indlnim. A large tree occuiTing 
in the moist forests up to *2,000 feet yielding a hard, heavy and durable 
reddish wood used for building. 

3. Karuva — Cinnanwynum zcylanieum. A large tree common in 
the Peermade plateau ; wood dull white resembling mango wood, used for 
rough planking and building. 

4. Kalpayin — Bipterocarpua turbinatus. This is another very large 
tree common in the evergreen forests 0-8,000 feet. It yields soft resinous 
wood used for reapers, but which decays rapidly with exposure. 

5. Shenchandanam — Gluta travancorica. A very large forest tree, 
confined to the extreme south of the Peninsula and ascending the hills to 
an elevation of 4,000 feet. It yields a beautiful red wood suitable for furni- 
ture but not strong. 

6. Kattu Puvan — Niphelium longana. Wood, hard, yellowish red ; 
suitable for buildings if cut in large scantlings but hable to crack if sawn 

7. Wynaad Shingle-tr(?e, Malakonnai — Acrocarpus fraxiit if alius. 
Found only in places where the climate is dry; wood jmik and spUts 
easily ; used for shingles as well as for buildings and furniture. 

H. Vellakasavu— 7/r////(7/r//V7 ]'enu.^ta. A small tree common in the 
(»vergre?n forests growing at an elt^vation of 2,000 to 4,000 feet, with a 

III.] Flora. §1 

white, hard and heavy wood used for. turning and posts, H.elatais 
another tree of the same species possessing a like wood. 

Trees yielding gums, resins and dyes. First comes the beau- 
tiful Venga tree, Pterocarpus mursupium, aheady desciibed, which yields 
the dragon's blood or gmu kino of commerce. The gum is collected by inci- 
sions in the bark. Of dammer there are two varieties, the white dammer or 
Vella Kimdrikam, the product of Vateria indica or the Payin tree, and 
the black dammer, the product of Canarium strictum or TheUimaravi, a 
lofty tree very abundant in our dense moist forests from 0-5,000 feet. 
The gmn exudes from all parts of the tree and is semi-transparent in 
small pieces, but black in masses and tastes like fennel. It is collected and 
used for bottling and varnishes. A solid oil is also obtained from the 
seeds of Vateria indica, known as vegetable tallow, of which candles are 
made, which diffuse an agreeable fragrance and give a clear light with 
little smoke. The oil is used also as a local applictition in chronic 

The lofty Ailantus malaharica, common in the evergieen forests of 
North Travancore, yields a fragrant resinous juice known as Muttipal 
which is burnt as incense and used also for medicinal purposes. Reference 
has already been made to the Shurali or Hardwickia binata yielding a 
gum said to be as useful as copaiba. Butea superha as w^eil as its allied 
species B,/rondosa or the Palasa tree yield a kind of East Indian kino 
flowing from fissures in the bark, which becomes opaque and dark- 
colom*ed after a time. This gum which dissolves in hot water imparting 
to it a fine red colour contains a large proportion of tannin which might 
render it useful in the arts and in tanning leather especially for thick 
hides. The fruit of the Panichimaram, ])iosp?/ros cmhryopteris, contains 
a large proportion of tannin and a gum used for fishing lines ^i*. 

The Kattucheru or Holujarna arnottiana is one of the trees yielding 
the well-known black lacquer varnisli. The juice of the fjuit is used by 
painters and also for fixing indelible colours figured on linen cloths. The 
small and thorny Karuvelam tree. Acacia arabica, yields a valuable trans- 
parent gum which is used as a substitute for gum Arabic, which itself is 
the product of A. vera. The bark of this tree is used for tanning leather 
and also for medicinal puirposes. The Pattathamai'a, Macaranf/a indica 
a very common tree in Travanc(»re, produces a gum of a light crimson 
colour used for taking impressions of leaves, coins, medallions &c. The 
stem of the Vilatti or wood-apple, Ff/o/u*(/f/<»/)//rf/i///w, yields a transparent 
gummy siihstanco which is used fc»r mixing with painter's colours, in 

dd Tbavancoke Manuai.. [Cha?. 

dyeing and also in ink and varnish. The gum called in Tamil Velan 
pishin, resembles the true gum Arabic and is also used for medicinal pur- 
poses. The Vembu, Melia azadirachta, the Iluppa, Bassia longifoHa, 
the Bilva, jEegle marmeloSy and the Cashewnut, Anacardium oecidsntaUf 
are some of the other common trees jielding useful gums. 

The Gamboge tre?, Garcinia pictoria, abundant in the moist forests 
yields a very bright orange pigment which is excellent and equal to the 
best gamboge. Two other trees of the same species also are said to yield 
good pigments, viz., G. morella and G. travancorica. The Kamila dye is 
the product of Ponnagam, MaUotus philippinensis, a middle-sized tree 
found in the secondary and open forests from 0-5,000 feet. Kamila is the 
powder rubbed off the capsules and is also found though in smaller 
quantities on the leaves and stalks of the plant. It is of a rich red colour, 
used all over India especially for silk to which it imparts a fine yellow 
colour. Two species of myrabolans are gathered from the Kadukai or 
Terminalia chebula and the Tani or T. helerica, the fonner especially being 
in good demand. They are very astringent and are used for tanning, also 
for making ink ; with alum they make a good yellow dye. The Manja- 
natti or Morinda tinrtoria, a very common tree, frequently met with in 
gardens as well as in the foi'ests, \ields a yellow timber which takes a 
polish e(iual to jack wood, the intejior wood of the old trees yielding a dye. 
The NoonamaraiJi ov 'Morinda //w?>t7/a/a, a common climbing plant, yields a 
dye of pennanent yellow from its root ; with the addition of sappan wood 
a red dye also can be prepared from the same. It is said that the coloars 
dyed with this as well as the other species of the Indian mulberry plaott 
are for the most part exceedingly brilliant and the colouring matter far 
more permanent than many other red colours and that with improved 
management the dye would probably rival that of madder. The Manjadi 
or Adcnunthera pavonina also yields a red dye. And lastly we have the Sap- 
pan wood. CUcsalpina sappan, a small tree whose wood called the red wood 
of commerce is extensively used in dyeing and is exported for that pm*pose. 
It gi'ows freely without any care and is of the first quality in Malabar. 
It yields a first class dye much used on the other coast. 

Avenue trees. Foremost among the aveime trees comes the Banyau 
or Alamaiam, Ficus bcngalensis, an immense tree with branches spread- 
ing over a large area. It is remarkable for the singular property of letting a 
gummy kind of rootlet fall from its branches. These on reaching the 
ground soon form a natural support to the larger branches of the tree, 
and several of these extending and increasing from year to year forming a 
vast assemblage of pillnr-lik*' stems, rover a considerable area round the 

IIL] Floba. 08 

origi nal trunk. This tree is wild throughout India, and is much planted 
for avenues everywhere. It is of rapid growth and grows best from large 
cattings 6 or 7 feet long planted in the ground. In Travancore it is found 
both in the moist and deciduous forests from sea-level to 4,000 feet. The 
wood is light, coarse-grained, brittle and not durable, but lasts under water 
and is hence used for wells, water conduits &c. The root * drops ' are tough 
and elastic and are used for tent poles, cart yokes &c. Bird-hme is made 
of the milky juice which abounds in every part of the tree. The leaves 
are used as plates and the fruit is occasionally eaten. Birds are very fond 
of it. 

The Arasu or Ficus relicjiosa is found wild in our subalpine forests bu^ 
i s not abundant. It is however very widely planted everywhere near tem- 
ples and along avenues. It does not ascend the hills to any elevation. It is a 
acred tree and is much respected by the Hindus who are very unwilling 
o cut it down at any time. The wood is white, light and perishable. It is 
used for fuel, charcoal and packing cases. Elephants eat its leaves and 
branches and the silkworms feed on its leaves. Stick-lac is produced from i^ 
and the glutinous juice which exudes from the stem is made into bird-lime. 
Eight other varieties of the Ficus species are found in Travancore, viz., Ficus 
tonientosa, F. altissima or Kal-atthi, F, henjamhui, F. tsiela, F, Infectoriuy 
F, asperrima or Theragam, JF'. hispida or Erumanaku and F. glomerata, 
or Atthi, of which the last is the most important. This is found throughout 
Travancore in the secondary and open forests 0-3,000 feet. It grows rapidly 
and gives a Ught pleasant shade. It is much planted in coflfee estates. The 
wood is white, light and not durable except under water; it is used for well 
rings. Bird-lime is made from the milky juice and the leaves are largely 
used as fodder for elephant and cattle. 

The Naval or Eu{ienia jamholana is a very large tree found in the 
evergreen forests and much planted for avenues. The wood is reddish or 
dark brown, close-gi*ained, but not straight; it is hard, and heavy but 
difficult to work and is therefore unsuitable lor any use. The fi-uit is 
eatable, and the loaves and bark are used in native medicine. 

The Poo-arasu or Thespesia populnea is another tree planted for road- 
side avenues, being remarkable for its easy and rapid growth from cuttings 
and yielding a good shade. 1 1 yields when ripe a very strong, hard and 
durable timber with a colour like mahogany, but its use is limited on 
account of the difficulty of getting it in !arge size. 

The other trees planted for avenues are the Casuarina, the Tamarind, 
the Jack, the Mauj^fo, the Marnfosa. tbo Alexandrine laurel, the Payin and 

94 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

the Cashew-nut trees. Of these the jack, mango and payin have abready 
baea nDfcic2-i uaJer the valuxbls timber trees. The casuarina does not 
grow in the Travancore forests except when planted, as its introduction 
into Southern India itself from Chittagong, its native province, is only of 
recent date. It may however be of interest to state that the timber of 
casuarina which grow^s well from seeds and is a very rapid grower is with- 
out exception the strongest wood known for bearing cross strains and very 
valuable for fuel. 

The Tamarind or Puli, Tamarindm indica, is planted largely for its 
fruit ; it also runs wild in the dry forests from 0-'2,000 feet. This is a 
graceful avenue tree of slow growth but attaining great size. The timber 
which is hard, heavy and durable is converted to many useful purposes 
in building, for mills and the teeth of wheels etc., and makes excellent fuel. 
The pulp of the pods is used both in food and in medicine. The natives 
have a prejudice against sleeping under the tree as its shade is considered 
unhealthy, and the tree haunted. 

The Margosa or Vembu, Melia a.>adirachta, is a small and beautiful 
tree much planted in the low country for ornament and shade. Its uses 
are referred to a little later under medicinal plants. 

The Alexandrine Lam'el or Punna, Calophyllum uiophyllamy is anotheif 
beautiful tree common on the banks of rivers and "not less esteemed for its 
ornamental appearance than for the delicious fragrance of its flowers". 

The Cashew-imt or Parangimavu, Anacardium occidentale, originally 
belonging to the West Indies is now common all over India. As the 
vernacular name implies, this seems to have been introduced by the 
Portuguese and has now run wild in the maritime forests all over Western 
India. Two kinds of oil can be prepared from the hard fruit l)orae at the 
end of the fleshy peduncle, viz., (1) a sweet nourishing table-oil from the 
kernels, pronounced equal to almond oil and superior to olive oil, and (2) a 
brown blistering oil from the rind (cardol). But this is scarcely done, the 
kernels being used only as a table- fiuit. The wood is of no value but is 
largely used as fuel. 

Cycads and Palms. The most important uf the indigenous cycads 
is the Eentha or Cyras circlnalis, a hmall tree very abundant in the 
deciduous forests 0- 3,000 feet. It i)roduces a good abundance of si)herical 
fruit containing a kernel. The liillmen and the low country people in some 
parts collect these fruits and convert the kernels into an insipid flour which 
is baked into cakes. The fruit forms the staple food of some of the hill- 
tribes for several months t<^^ether. 

IIL] Flora. 96 

Exclusive of the Cocoanut and Areca palms, whose cultivation forms 
such a striking feature of the garden lands of Travancore, G other varieties 
of palms are known, of which 4 are wild. They are : — the Palmyra or 
BorasBusflabelliformis, the Talipot or Corypha umhraculiferay the Bastard 
Sago or Caryoia uresis, the Bentinckia condapana, the Pinanga dich- 
ronii, and the Arenga toightii. 

The palmyra is much planted in the drier districts of South 
Travancore. The fruit is not much used and the tree is valued 
mainly lor the juice which is either drunk as toddy, distilled into arrack 
or made into jaggery. The leaves are used for several purposes like those 
of the cocoanut palm and the wood is valuable for rafters. The mighty 
talipot is doubtfully indigenous and is found all through our forests. 
Its large broad fronds are used for thatching and also for 
writing on with an iron style. The dried leaf is very strong and is com- 
monly used for umbrellas. A kind of flour or sago is prepared from the 
pith of the trunk. As observed by Mr. Bruce Foote, late of the Geological 
Survey of India, 

** The moHt striking feature in the flora of Soutli Travancore is the immense 
forest of fan palms (Borasmsflnhcllif'rmis) which covers agreat paiii of the countr3^ 
The fan palms, or palmyras, attain here to much greater height than they 
generally do elsewhere. Trees measuring from 90 to 100 feet in height are not 
uncommon in places, and with their stems greatly covered by white or silvery 
grey lichens, they present a much finer appearance than the comparatively 
stunted specimens one is accustomed to see in the Carnatic or on the Mysore 
and Deccan plateaus. Whether these Travancore trees owe any part of their 
greatly superior height to superior age, as compared with the palms in the great 
Palmyra forest in South Tinnevelly, I could not make out ; but the white colour 
of their stems, added to their great height certainly gives them a much more 
hoary and venerable appearance." 

The Bastard Sago, Caryota urens, common in the evergreen 
forests 0-3,000 feet, is a large tree yielding toddy. Sago is prepared 
from the stem. The tree is valued for the good quantity of sap it yields 
and also for its fibre. In times of scarcity these trees which are planted 
about the low country, are felled, and the pith is mixed with water and the 
resulting fluid is strained, and a flour is prepared from it. 

Bamboos and Reeds. The Bamboo is the most gigantic of the 
grasses and consists of several species all useful to man in a variety of 
ways. Seven species are known in Travancore, of which the most use- 
ful is the ubiquitous bamboo, Bambitsa arundinacea commonly called 
Mungil or Mulah. The uses &c., of this and the other species of 
bamboos in general are thus described by Drury : — 

96 Travancore Maklwt.. [Chap. 

" These gigantic arborescent glasses which cover the sides and tops of 
the mountains throughout the continent of India form one of tbe 
pecuHar as well as the most striking features of Oriental scenery. Few objects 
present a more attractive sight in the wild forest of this country than a clump of 
these beautiful plants with their tall bending stems and delicate light-green 
foliage. With the exception of the Cocoa and some other palms perhaps, the 
Bamboo is the most useful and economical of all the vegetable products of the 
East. In no other plant is strength and lightness combined to that degree which 
renders this so important an article in building houses, lifting weights, form- 
ing rafts and a thousand other uses which might here be enumerated. It attains 
a considerable height, — some 70-80 feet — and has been known to spring up 80 
inches in 6 days. At the ago of 15'' years, the bamboo is said to bear fruit, a 
whitish seed-like rice, and then to die. These seeds are eaten by the poorer 

" The purpose to which different spscies of bamboo are applied are so numer- 
ous that it would be difficult to point out an object in w^iich strength and elasti- 
city are requisite, and for which lightness is no objection to wiiich the stems are 
not adapted in the countries where they grow. 'I'he young shoots of some species 
are cut when tendar and eaten like aspamgus. The full-grown stems, while green, 
form elegant cases, exhalin;^ a p^ipotual moisture, and capable of transporting 
fresh flowers for hundreds of miles. When ripe and hard they are converted into 
bows, arrows, and quivers, lance-shafts, masts of vessels, bed-posts, walking- 
sticks, the poles of palanquins, to floors and supporters of injstic bndges, and a variety 
of similar purposes. In a growing state, the spiny kinds are formed into stockades, 
which are impenetrable to any but regular infantry, aided by artillery. By 
notching their sides, the Malays make wonderfully light scaling laddei*s, which can 
be conveyed with facility where heavier machines could not be transported. 
Bruised and crushed in w-ater, the leaves and stems form Chinese paper, the finer 
qualities of w4iich are only improved by a mixture of raw cotton and by more 
careful pounding, 'i he leaves of a small species are the material used by the 
Chinese for the lining of their tea-chests. Cut into lengtlis and the partitions 
knocked out, they f oi m durable water-pipes, or, by a httle contrivance are made 
into excellent cases for holding rolls of papers. Slit into strips, they afiford a 
most durable material for weaving into mats, baskets, wundow-blinds and even 
the sails of boats. Finally, the larger and thicker truncheons are exquisitely 
carved by the Chinese into beautiful ornaments. No plant in Bengal is applied 
to such a variety of useful pui-poses as the bamboo. Of it are made implements 
for weaving, the post and the frames of the roofs of huts, scatf'oldings for buildings, 
portable stages for native processions, raised floors for granaries, stakes for nets 
in rivers, rafts, masts, yards, oars, spars, and in boat-decks. It is used for build- 
ing bridges across creeks, for fences, as a lever for raising water for irrigation, and 
as flag-poles. Several agricultural instruments are made of it, as are also hackeries 
or carts, doolies or litters and biers, the shafts of javelins or spears, bows and arrows 
clubs and fishing-rods. A joint of bamboo senses as a holder for pens, small 
instniments and tools. It is used as a case in which things of httle bulk are sent 
to a distance; the eggs of silkworms were brought into a bamboo cane from China 
to Constantinople in the time of Justinian. A joint of bamboo answers the 
purpose of a bottle, and a section of it is a measure for solids and liquids in bazaars. 
A piece of it is used as a blow-pipe and as a tube in a distilling apparatus. A 
small bit of it split at one end, sen-es as tongs to take up burning charcoal, and a 
thin slip of it is shai'p enough to be used as knife in shelling betel-nuts (fee. Its 
surface is so hard, that it answers tlie puiposc of a whet-stone upon which the 
r}'ots sharpen their bill-hooks and sickles." 

* AcTordin^r to Mr. Bourdillon, 30. 

Ill,] Flora. 07 

2. Male Bamboo or Kalmulah — DenJrocalamus atrictus. This 
species of bamboo (culms up to 3 inches in diameter and 30 feet high) has 
great strength and solidity and is very straight ; hence it is better suited 
far a variety of uses than the common bamboo. The natives make great 
iise of it for spears, shafts &c. It is clearly a distinct species, growing 
in a drier situation than other bamboos. In Travancore its habitat is 
the Anchanad valley 3,000^4,000 feet. 

8. Arambu — Oxytenanthera bourdilloni, A species of thornless 
bamboo growing on rocky cliffs found only at elevations between 2,000 
and 3,000 feet. It attains a diameter of about 4 inches and a height of 
40 feet. The hillmen use this for making combs and other household 

4. Oxytenanthera thwaitesii. Found in the evergreen forests 
3,000-6,000 feet; reeds not exceeding 1 inch in diameter and 10 feet high. 

5. Tha Eetta or Eeral reed — Ochlandra travancorica. This forms 
the undergrowth in many parts of the Travancore forests and is used by 
the hillmen for temporary huts, the reeds themselves being employed for 
frame work and the leaves serving as thatch. The reeds are also used 
for fencing, basket-making, mats &c., and an excellent paper is made out 
of the fibre. 

6. Teifwstachyum tviyhtiL Another reed found on the hills and 
evergreen forests 3,000-4,000 feet ; reeds not exceeding 1 inch in diameter 
and 10 feet high. 

7. Amma — Ochlandra rheedii. Found on the banks of rivers in 
the low country ; reeds up to 3/4 inch in diameter and 10 feet high, used 
for basket-making. 

There are also many other kinds of reeds not yet identified. Of 
grasses the most important is the lemon grass, Andropogon schcenantkusy 
from which the famous lemon grass oil is extracted. 

Fibrous plants. The Vakkanar, a very strong and durabb 
fibre exclusively used for the dragging of timber by elephants, 
is made of the bark of Sterculia villosa, a small tree of rapid growth with 
straight trunk and smooth bark. All the layers of this tree can be strip- 
ped off from the bottom to the top with great facility and fine pliable 
ropes are formed from the inner layers while the outer ones yield coarser 
ropes. The fibre is unusually strong as the strands not only run length- 
wise but are .formed into a net-work by other strands crossing them 

M 'rB.vVANcoRK Manual. [Chap. 

diagonally. StercuUa guttata is another tree of the same species yielding 
a useful fibre which is generally used for making coarse bags. 

The Arayanjili, Antiarius toxicaria, yields, as we have ahready 
noticed, strong fibres which are excellently fitted for matting, sacking and 
cordage. The Kaivanar so largely used by the Chalpans of Trivan- 
drum, and the low^-caste dhobies of Central and North Travancore 
for making coarse cloths, gunny bags and sacking is obtained from the 
bark of Valampiri or Helicteres uora which occurs as an undershrub in 
most of the lower and outer forests of Travancore. The fibres are strong 
and white-coloured and are well adapted for ropes and cordage. A fort- 
night's soaking of the fresh stems in running water yields a fibre of very 
good colour with a pearly lustre. Strong fibres are also made from the 
bark of PuUmanji or Hibiscus cannabinus and its allied species H. Hla* 
cetis (Nirparuthi), of Cherutali or Antidesma bunias and Nagavalli 
or Baiihinia scajtdetis and from the roots of Butea superba and its allied one 
Buteafrondosa. A species of Crotalaria resembling Crotalaria juncea 
or sunn-hemp is largely grown in Shencottah and the northern districts 
of Ampalapuzha, Shertallay, Vaikam, Alangad, Kunnatnad and Parur^ 
especially in Vaikam. Here the plant as well as its fibre are called 
Wuckoo, the latter being largely employed in the manufacture of fishing 
net and tackle. Some specimens of strong canvas made of this fibre were 
sent to the MadrasExhibitionof 1851, which have been much approved of by 
competent judges from the compactness and strength of the manufacture. 
The Erukkalai plant, Calotropis gigantea, a plant growing wild in Twt- 
vancore, generally on hot stretches of bare sand as well as in dry, rocky 
and exposed situations, yields useful fibres which are soft, white, silky 
and very tenacious. But the comparative shortness of the staple and the 
difficulty of extracting the fibres probably explain the sparing use made 
of them in the arts and manufactures. The fibre possesses many of the 
properties of the European flax and can be spun into the finest thread 
for sewing and weaving cloth. The white silk-like material of the pods 
has been successfully tried to mix with silk. 

Among other common plants of Travancore jdelding useful fibres 
may be mentioned, the Indian hemp largely grown for Ganja, Inja, 
Chiyakka, Jack and Anjili, Rattans, Ilavu, Mul Ilavu, Murunga, 
some species of Banyan, Nedunar, Poonga, Venga and Pooarasu. 
Of the plants yielding useful leaf-fibres the commonest are the plan- 
tains, of which there are several species. A regular industry has grown 
up on the plantain fibre, an account of which is given in the Chapter 
on Arts and Industries. Next come the Aloes, of which the Mexican 

IIL] Flora. 06 

aloe or Anakkattazha and the green aloe of St. Helena have become 
naturalised in the country. The pine-apple which is now regularly culti- 
vated in some of the distiicts, especially in the South, yields an excellent 
fibre which from its silky lustre and great strength has been suggested 
as a fair substitute for flax. 

The fibre of the palms requires special mention. The cocoanut, the 
palmyra, the talipot, the bastard sago and the wild dates, all yield 
good fibres which are " characterised by extreme tenacity, a certain 
degree of elasticity, firmness and gloss, '* and are specially adapted for the 
manufacture of brushes, cordage, ropes and cables. The Kittul fibre of 
conmierce is obtained from the fronds of Caryota urens which is much 
valued for its sago and toddy as well. Coir, the produce of the cocoanut 
palm, is not a true fibre but only a seed-hair like cotton and other vege- 
table flosses. 

Medioilial trees and plants. The number of medicinal plants 
seems to be legion. The native doctors use a very large variety of plants 
and shrubs for medicinal purposes. A short notice of only a few of them is 
attempted here. 

We will start with those trees that are poisonous as well as medici- 
nal. Of these, the Yettimaram or Kanjiram, Stri/cluios nux-vomicUi 
comes first. It is a tree of middle size common throughout Travancore. 
The seeds are most valued both in native and European medicine, and 
the well-known poison Strychnine is prepared from the kernel of the fruit. 
The pulp of the fruit is harmless and eaten by birds, monkeys and cattle. 
It is believed that the seeds of the fruit if taken for two years one or two 
every day have the effect of rendering innoxious bites of poisonous cobras. 
The Tettankotta or Strychnos potatorum is harmless and is used for several 
-medicinal purposes. The seeds of this tree have the singular property of 
clearing muddy water, if it is poured into a vessel of which the sides have 
been rubbed with bruised or sliced seeds. They are devoid of all poisonous 
properties aud are used as a remedy in diabetes and gonorrhea. 

The Odallam, Cerhera odollam^ a small tree growing largely on the 
banks of canals and backwaters, yields a very poisonous fruit somewhat 
resembling a mango. The Vellai-oomatha, Datura alba, and the Kari- 
oomatha. Datura fastiiosa, are both very common weeds famous for the 
intoxicating and narcotic properties of their fruits. Their medicinal and 
poisonous properties are well known. Of the two the former is said not 
be quite so virulently poisonous as the latter. Both are used as anodyne 
and antispasmodic. /Viuong other poisonous phmtj? mention may be made 

loo Travancore Manual. [ChaP. 

of Sapium msigney a small tree growing on the upper hills, £rom whidl 
exudes a very poisonous and acrid juice, and theChera or HoUgama ferm- 
gima, a lofty tree found both on the slopes of the hills up to 3,000 feet and in 
the low country. This latter yields a sap which on exposure to air becomiS 
dark like tar and when it falls on the body raises large blisters. The root 
of Mettonni or Gloriosa superba, a very handsome climbing plant, " one 
of the most ornamental plants any country can boast of," is used medi- 
cinally by the natives and is commonly believed to be very poisooous. It 
is applied in paste to the hands and feet of women in difficult parturition; 
mixed with honey it is given in gonorrhea. It is not poisonous in twelve- 
grain doses ; on the contrary it is alterative, tonic and antiperiodic. 

The following are some of the commoner medicinal plants arranged 
in the alphabetical order of their botanical names : — 

Vettila Kasturi — Ahehiwschus moschatus, A very common plant 
in Travancore, whose seeds have been given with the best effect in 
counteracting bites of venomous reptiles, being applied internally and 

Peruntutti — Abutilon indicum. The leaves of this shrub in 
decoction are used by European and native physicians as an emollient 
fomentation and an infusion of the roots is given as a cooling drink in 
fevers. The root is also used in leprosy and the seeds are reckoned 

Kuppameni — Acalypha indica. The root of this small plant 
bruised in hot water is employed as cathartic, and the leaves as a laxative 
in decoction ; mixed with salt the latter are applied externally in scabies. 
A decoction of the plant mixed with oil is a specific against gout and 
mixed with chunam is applied externally in cutaneous diseases. 

Nayui'i — Achyranthes aspera. The seeds are given in hydc0- 
phobia and in cases of snake-bites, as well as in ophthalmia and cutaneoas 
diseases. The flowering spikes rubbed with a little sugar are made into 
pills and given internally in cases of dog-bites, while the leaves tfrfa m 
fresh and rubbed to a pulp are considered a good remedy for scorpion-bites. 
The root is used as a sort of tooth-brush in some parts of India. 

Vasamboo — Acorus calamus. An aromatic bitter principle exiots 
in the rhizomes of this plant, on account of which they are regarded 
as useful additions to tonic and purgative medicines, being much givfoi 
to children in cases of dyspepsia, especially when attended with looseness 
of bowels. It is also beneficially employed in chronic catarrh, asthmatic 
complaints and inten))ittont ff'vors. 

HL] Floba. xoi 

Adatoda— ^ ilt^Aa^a vasica. The flowers, leaves and root are 
all considered antispasmodic and are given in cases of asthma and inter- 
mittent fever. The leaves given in conjunction with those of Tooduvala 
aad Eandankathri are employed internally in decoction as anthelmintic. 

Bilva -^ JEgle marmelos. The root, bark, leaves and the fruit 
are all medicinally used. The half-ripe fruit, especially newly gathered, 
is a very good remedy for chronic diarrhoea and dysentery. The root . 
bark is a remedy in hypochondriasis, melancholia and palpitation of the 
heart and the leaves in decoction are used in asthma. 

Chittaratta — Alpina galanga. The tubers which are faintly 
arcHuatic, pimgent and somewhat bitter are the larger galangal of tl^ 
shops and are used as a substitute for ginger. They are given in infusion 
in fevers, rheumatism and catarrhal affections. 

Liemon grass — Andropogon schxnanthus. An infusion of the fra- 
grant leaves which are bitter and aromatic is given to children as an ex- 
cellent stomachic. It is also diaphoretic. The oil prepared from it is a 
most valuable remedy in rheumatism apphed externally. 

Vilamicham — Andropogon muriccLtum. An infusion of the roots 
is given medicinally as a gentle stimulant and a grateful drink in 
feverish cases. The roots reduced to powder are given in bilious affect- 
ions, and mixed with milk and applied externally as cooling applications 
to the skin when irritated. They are dehghtfuUy fragrant and aromatic 
and contain a volatile oil used in perfumery. The root in infusion is also 
used in cases of gout and rheumatism. 

Karuntumba — Anisomeles inalaharica. The juice of the leaves 
of this shrub is given to children in colic and indigestion and fevers aris- 
ing from teething; it is also employed in stomachic complaints, dysentery 
and intermittent fevers. 

Bamudrachedi— -4 rgryma ^pcc'osa. The leaves are used in the 
preparation of emollient poultices and also in cutaneous complaints being 
applied externally to the parts affected. 

Perumarundoo — Aristolochia indica. The root which is nause- 
ously bitter is said to possess emmenagogue and antarthritic virtues. 
It is said to be a valuable antidote to snake-bites, being applied both in- 
ternally and externally. Mixed with honey the root is given in leprosy 
and the leaves internally in fever. 

-Nirmulli — Asteracantha longi/olia. This plant is commojily 
met with by the side of paddy fielcls and other damp situations. The roots 

iod Tkavancoee Manual. [Oha^. 

are considered touic and diuretic ; administered in decoction, they are aim 
employed in dropsical affections and gravel. 

Kattu Atthi — Bauhinia tomentosa. The dried leaves and young 
flowers are administered in dysenteric affections and a decoction of the 
bark of the root is given in cases of liver and phlegmatic complaints and 
also as a vermifuge. The bruised bark is also occasionally applied to 
tumours and wounds. 

Alpam — Tiragantia wallichii. This is peculiar to the Malabar 
Coast. The whole plant mixed with oil and reduced to an ointment is 
said to be very efficacious in the treatment of inveterate ulcers. Bartolo- 
meo refers to this plant as ** the only Malabar plant which I can with 
certainty call an antidote to poison''. The root is powdered and admin- 
istered in warm water to those who are poisoned. The familiar Malayalam 
proverb is "Alpam akathu visham porathu" i. e., as soon as as the Alpam 
root enters the body, poison leaves it. 

Erukkalai — Calotropis gigantea. The acrid milky juice flow- 
ing from every part of this shrub is used by the natives for medicinal pur- 
poses in many different \\ ays, besides preparations of the plant itself in 
epilepsy, paralysis, bites of poisonous animals, as a vermifuge &c. The 
root, bark and juice are used as powerful alteratives and purgatives. 
The plant as we have seen already is also valuable for the fine strong 
fibres with which it abounds. 

Modakattan — Cardiospennum halicacabum. The root of the plant 
is diaphoretic and diuretic and is given in decoction as an aperient ; 
the leaves are administered in pulmonic complaints and mixed with castor 
oil are internally employed in rheumatism and lumbago, and the whole 
plant boiled in oil is rubbed over the body in bilious affections. The leaves 
mixed with jaggery and boiled in oil are a good specific in sore eyes. 

8eema Agatlii — Caasia alata. The juice of the leaves mixed 
with lime-juice is a useful remedy for ringworm ; the fresh leaves simply 
bruised and rubbed on the parts affected sometimes remove the eruption* 
The plant is also considered a cm*e in all poisonous bites, besides cuta- 
neous affections. 

Karuva or Kattulavangam — Cinnamomum .^eylankum. This small 
tree is very conunon in the jungles on the western coast. The seeds bruised 
or mixed with honey or sugar are given to children in dysentery and coughs 
and combined with other ingredients in fevers. 

Elumichai — Citruii madiof. Lime-juice i^ umch ust»d iu medicine 

HL] floha. loa 

by native practitioners, possessing all the virtues attributed to that of 
the English lemon. It is considered to possess virtues in checking bilious 
vomiting and to be refrigerent, astringent, stomachic and tonic; diluted 
with water and sweetened it forms a refreshing drink. The dried rind 
of the fruit also is used as a vegetable drug. 

Sankhapushpam — Clitorea tematea. The seeds of this common 
creeper are a useful purgative. The root is used in croup ; it is also given 
as a laxative to children and is diuretic. 

Nervalam — Croton tiglium. The seeds of this small plant yield the 
well-known Croton oil. They are of the size of a sloe and are considered 
one of the most drastic purgatives known. The oil is chiefly employed 
in incipient apoplexy, visceral obstruction and occasionally in dropsy. 
The seeds mixed with honey and water are often applied to obstruct 
buboes. The expressed oil of the seeds is a good remedy externally 
applied in rheumatic and indolent tumours. 

Mavilangam or Nirmathalam — Cratmva rcligiosa. This small tree is 
abundant on river banks from 0-5,000 feet. The bark, leaf and root are 
all used medicinally. The leaves are slightly aromatic and bitter and 
are considered stomachic. The root is supposed to possess alterative 
properties. The juice of the bark is given in convulsions and flatulency 
and boiled in oil is externally applied in rheumatism. 

Kuvamanjal — Ctircuma angustifolia. An excellent kind of arrow- 
root is prepared from the tubers of this species, especially in Tra- 
vancore, where the plant grows in great abundance, and this is a favourite 
article of diet. The flour powdered and boiled in milk is an excellent diet 
for sick people or children. 

Wild Turmeric, Kasturimanjal — Curciivia aromatica. This is an orna- 
mental and beautiful plant abounding in our forests. The root is used as a 
perfume and also medicinally both when fresh and dried. It possesses aro- 
matic and tonic properties and is less heating than ginger. 

VeUparuthi — Dcemia exteyim. This twining plant abounds in 
milky juico. In medicine the natives use the whole in infusion in pulmo- 
nary affections ; if ffiven in large doses it will cause nausea and vomiting. 
The juice of the leaves mixed with chunam is applied externally in rheu- 
matic swellings of the limbs. 

Karusalankanni — Eclipta erecta. The whole plant is alterative, 
tonic, purgative and diuretic. In paste with gingelly oil it is a good remedy 

10ft Travancore Manual. [Chap, 

for elephantiasis, applied externally. It has a pecaharly bitter taste and 
strong smell. The root has purgative and emetic propei-ties assigned to it, 
and is also used in case of liver, spleen and dropsy. 

Mullumurunga — Erythrbia iJidica, The leaves and bark of this 
prickly tree are used in cases of fevers. The leaves pulverised and boiled 
with ripe cocoanut are also applied to venereal buboes and pains in the 
joints, and mixed with jaggery are apphed externally to the stomach in 
grips and colic. 

Devadaram — Erythroxyhn monogynum. The young leaves and 
tender shoots of this small tree are reckoned refrigerent. Bruised 
and mixed with gingelly oil they are applied as a liniment to the head. 
The bark is occasionally administered in infusion as a tonic. 

Kammatti — Exccecaria caimttia. This shrub grows abundant- 
ly along our backwaters and canals. It abounds in an acrid milky juice 
which is poisonous and blinding and is known as the " Tiger's milk tree.** 
The juice is applied with good effect to inveterate ulcers. The leaves also 
are used for the purpose in decoction. 

Elarunochi — Gendarussa vulgaris. The leaves and tender stalks 
of this shrub are prescribed in certain cases of chronic rheumatism. The 
leaves in infusion are given internally in fevers, and a bath in which these 
leaves are saturated is very efficacious in the same complaint. The juice 
of the leaves is administered in coughs to children and the same mixed in 
oil as an embrocation in glandular swellings of the neck and the throat; 
mixed with mustard seed it is also a good emetic. 

Choratti — Gomphia angustifolia. The root and leaves which 
are bitter are given as tonics in these parts. A decoction of the leaves 
is given in heart-burn and also applied in ulcers. The leaves, flowers and 
fruits boiled in water arc administered as a wash in gingiva and for 
strengthening the gums. The root boiled in milk and mixed with cummin 
seeds is said to allay vomiting and the root and bark pulverised and 
mixed with oil are made into an ointment for scabies and other cutaneous 

Kazhanchi — Guilnndina banduc. The kernels of the nuts are 
very bitter and said to be powerfully tonic. They are given in cases of 
intermittent fevers mixed with spices in the form of powder. Pounded 
and mixed with castor oil they are applied externally in hydrocele. 

Narunindi or Nannari — Hemide$7nn^ indi<'u$. This is the 

in.] Flora, 106 

ootintiry Sarsaparilla very common in Travancore. The root is used 
largely for the thrush in children, a drachm every morning and evening 
of the powder fried in butter. Dried and reduced to powder and mixed 
with honey, it is reckoned a good specific in rheumatic pains, boils &c., 
and in decoction with onions and cocoanut oil is internally recommenced 
in haemorrhoids, and simply bruised and mixed with water in diai-rhaa. 
This has been employed as a chief and efficacious substitute for Sarsa- 
parilla in cachectic diseases, increasing the appetite and improving the 
health. The milky juice of the fresh plant boiled in oil is applied ex- 
ternally in rheumatism and an infusion of the whole plant is given in 
fevers. Carivilandi or Smilax ovalifolia also possess all the virtues cf 
the true sarsaparilla. 

Kodagapala — Holarrhena antidysenterica. This is a common but 
handsome flowering shrub in the Malabar Coast. A medicine is prepared 
from the long pods, which is efficacious in cases of dysentery. The plant 
has astringent and tonic properties in its bark and is a remedy in fevers. 

Modirakanni — Hugania mystax. This is a handsome shrub with 
beautiful golden yellow flowers. The bruised roots are used in reducing 
inflammatory tumours, as a febrifuge and anthelmintic, especially for 
children, and also as a remedy in the case of snake-bites. 

Maravetti — Hydnocarpus wightiana. The fruit if eaten occa- 
sions giddiness. An oil is extracted from the seeds given in cutaneous 
diseases and ophthalmia, causing an excessive flow of tears. 

Vallarai — Hydrocotyle asiatica. The leaves of this wildly distri- 
buted herb are roasted and given in infusion to children in bowel 
complaints and fevers. They are also applied to parts that have suflered 
from blows and bruises as anti-inflammatory. The plant is also said to 
be an excellent specific for leprosy. 

Orelatamara — lonidinm suffruticosum. The fruit in infusion is 
diuretic, and is a remedy in gonorrhoea and aft'ections of the urinary 
organs. The leaves and tender stalks are demulcent and are used in 
decoction and electuary ; also employed mixed with oil as a cooUng lini- 
ment for the head. 

Indian Jalap, Shevatai — Tpovicea turpethum. The fresh bark of 
the root is employed as a purgative mixed up with milk. Being free from 
any nauseous taste or smell, the root possesses a decided superiority over 
jalap for which it might \^eli be substituted. 

106 Thavakcork Manual. [Chap. 

Kattumallika — Ja^minum angustifoliunu The bitter root of this 
twining shrub gixDund small and mixed with lime-juice and Yasamboo 
root is considered a good remedy in ringworm. The leaves of its allied 
species, Jirakamulla or J. sambac if boiled in oil exude a balsam which is 
used for anointing the head in eye-complaints. It is said to strengthen 
the vision. An oil is also expressed from the roots used medicinally. 

Kattamanakku — Jatropha curcas. The . seeds of this shrub are 
purgative occasionally exciting vomiting. A fixed oil is prepared from the 
seeds useful in cutaneous diseases and chronic rheumatism appUed exter- 
nally , also for burning in lamps. The leaves warmed and rubbed with caster 
oil are applied to inflammations when suppuration is wished for, and the juice 
of the plant is used for heemorrhoids. The oil is a very much more power- 
ful purgative than castor oil but very uncertain in its action. The Chitta- 
manakku or ordinary castor oil plant belongs to a different species, 
Bicinus communiSy whose oil is used largely as a mild laxative and for 
burning lamps. 

Vembu or Neem tree — Melia azadirachta. This is a beautiful 
tree whose leaves, bark, seeds and oil are all medicinally used by the 
natives. The bark which has a remarkably bitter taste is considered & 
most useful tonic in intermittent fevers and chronic rheumatism, adminis- 
tered either in decoction or powder. The oil which is of a deep yellow 
colour and much used for burning lamps, is a useful remedy in leprosy 
and is moreover anthelmintic and stimulant, being used externally in bad 
ulcers and as a liniment in headaches and rheumatic affections. 

Champaka — Michelia champaca. The bark of the root is red, 
bitter and very acid and when pulverised is reckoned emmenagogne ; 
the flowers beaten up with oil are applied to fetid discharges from tbe nos- 
trils, and all parts of the tree are said to the powerfully stimulant. 

Thottavadi — Miviosa jpxidica. This is the common sensitive plant. 
Mixed with gingelly it is given as a drink in gc»norrhoea. 

Karuveppila — Murraya kceningiL This is the curry-leaf tree 
whose leaves are used for flavouring curries. The leaves are further used 
in dysentery and to stop nausea ; the root is laxative and both bark and 
roots are stimulants and are used externally as remedies in eruption and 
in infusion to check vomiting in cholera. 

Wild Nutmeg, Jatikkai — Myristica laurifolia. This is a large teee 
common in the evergreen forests. The mace of this kind of nutmeg has 
not the same virtues as that of the common one, Mixed with honey it is 

m.] Floba. 107 

admimstered in coughs and pectoral afifections but generally in combina- 
tion with other ingredients. 

Sweet Basil, Vellatulasi — Ocimum bacilicum. The whole plant is 
aromatic and fragrant. The seeds are cooling and mucilaginous and are said 
to be very nourishing and demulcent. An infusion is given as a remedy in 
g<MiorrhoBa, catarrh, dysentery and chronic diarrhoea, and the juifce of the 
leaves is squeezed in the ear in ear-ache. It is said the seeds are a 
favourite medicine with Hindu women for relieving the after-pains of 

Tulasi — Ocimum safwtum. The juice of this plant is given in catan-hal 
afifections in children and mixed with lime-juice is an excellent remedy in 
cutaneous affections, ringworms &c. The root is given in decoction in 

Nelli — Phyllanthus emblica. The seeds are given internally 
as a cooling remedy in bilious affections and nausea, and in infusion it 
makes a good drink in fevers. They are are also used in diabetes. The 
bark of the tree is used for dysentery and diarrhoea, and mixed with 
honey it is applied to aphthous inflamations of the mouth. The fi-uit is 
pickled or presei^ved in sugar. The young branches of the tree are put 
into wells to impart a pleasant flavour to the water, especially if it be 
impure from the accumulation of vegetable matter or other causes. 

Kilanelli — Phyllanthus niruri. The root, leaves and young shoots 
are all used medicinally, the two first in powder or decoction in 
jaundice or bilious complaints and the last in infusion in dysentery. The 
juice of the stem mixed with oil is employed in ophthalmia. 

Pevetti — Physalis somnifera. The root of this chrub is said to 
have deobstruent and diuretic properties. The leaves moistened with 
wann castor oil are externally employed in cases of carbuncle. They are 
very bitter and are given in infusion in fevers. The root and leaves are 
powerfully narcotic ; the latter is applied to inflamed tmnours, while the 
former in obstinate ulcers and rheumatic swellings of the joints mixed 
with dry ginger. 

Black Pepper, Nallamilagu — Pipernigrum. This is Indigenous to the 
forests of Malabar and Travancore. For centuries past pepper has been an 
article of export to the European countries and even to-day a considerable 
quantity is annually exported from Travancore. The cultivation of this 
very common vine is described elsewhere. The berries medicinally used 
are given us stimulant and stomachic, and when toasted have been 

108 Travancore M.VNUAL. [Chap. 

employed successfully in stopping vomiting in cases of cholera. The root is 
used as a tonic, stimulant and cordial. A liniment is also prepared which 
is used in chronic rheumatism. The watery infusion is used a gargle in 
relaxation of the uvula. As a seasoner of food, it is well known for its 
excellent stomachic qualities. Pepper in over-doses acts as a poison by 
over-exerting the inflammation of the stomach and its acting powerfully 
on the nervous system. It is also successfully used in vertigo, and 
paralytic and arthritic disorders. 

kodiveli — Plumbago zeylanica. The fresh bark bruised is made 
into a paste, mixed with rice conjee and applied to buboes. It acts 
as a vesicatory. It is believed that the root reduced to powder and admin- 
istered during pregnancy will cause abortion. 

Pomegranate, Mathalam — Pun lea granutum. All the parts of this 
tree are used medicinally. The rind of the finiit and flowers which 
are powerfully astringent are employed successfully as gargles, in 
diarrhoea and dysentery; the pulp is sub-acid, quenching thirst and gently 
laxative, while the bark is a remedy for tape-worm given in decoction. 

Nagamalli — Bhinacanthus communis. The fresh root and leaves 
of this shrub bruised and mixed with lime-juice are considerad a 
useful remetly in nn^nvorm and other cutaneous afi'ections. Milk* boiled 
in the root is leckoned aphrodisiacal and the roots are used as a cure for 
bites of poisonous snakes. 

Karinghota — Samadera indica. This tree grows abundantly in Travan- 
core and Cocliin. The bark has febrifugal properties and is used by 
the natives for this purpose. An oil extracted from the kernels of the 
fruit is extensively used in rliemnatism. 

Sandalwood — Hantalum album. Sandal reduced to powder is 
supposed to possess sedative and cooling properties and is hence prescribed 
in fever and gonorrhoea. Mixed with butter it is applied in headaches. 
Internally it is given in fevers and bilious affections and externally 
in prickly heat and cutaneous eruptions. It yields by distillation a pale* 
yellow volatile oil, which is stated to be a successful remedy in gonorrhoea. 

Belamodagam — Scavola kwnigii The leaves of this common shrub 
made into a poultice ai*e powerfully emollient in tumours. Boiled in 
water a drhik is prepared from them and administered internally to 
excite the flow nf mine and in lochial ob^tnu^tions. 

In.] Flora. 109 

Ealettadi-maravara — Scindapsus pertusus. The pericarp of this 
singular looking plant common in the jungles between Quilon and 
Courtallam is used in leprosy and scabies generally combined with other 
ingredients and in infusion for cough and rheumatism. Anattippili, 
Scindapsus officinalis, another plant of the same species, is reputed to 
have stimulant, diaphoretic and anthelmintic virtues. 

SejikottsA—Se)7iecarpiis anacardium. The acrid juice of the shells 
is given in small doses in leprous and scrofulous affection. An oil 
is prepared from the kernels useful in rheumatism and sprains; undiluted it 
acts as a blister. 

Agathi — Sesbania gvandijiora. The bark is powerfully bitter and 
is used as a tonic. The tender leaves, lagumes, and flowers are all eaten 
by the natives in their curries. An infusion of the leaves is given in cases 
of catarrh. 

Kandankathri — Solanwm j acq u int. There are two varieties of this 
prickly creeper. The fruit is bitter and sub-acid and considered as an 
expectorant by the natives and given by them in coughs and consumptive 
complaints; also in decoction in humoral asthma. They are said to be 
good for the digestion. 


Tooduvala — Solanum trilohahan. This is another creeper of the 
same species, much used in native medicine. The roots and leaves 
are given in decoction oj* powder in consumptive complaints, while the 
berries and flowers are given in decoction for coughs. Cheruchunda 
or SoUimim indicum is also used largely in medicine. 

Tanikai — Terminalia belerica. The keniel of the nut mixed with 
honey is given in certain cases of ophthalmia. The juice of the bark 
and root is given in decoction with rice and milk in colic. The fruit 
is astringent in taste, and is tonic and attenuent; it is also used in dropsy, 
diarrhoea, piles and leprosy, as well as for coughs. In large doses it 
becomes a narcotic poison. 

Indian Almond, Vadankotta — Tenninalia catappa. The kernel of 
the nuts of this tree has the taste of an almond and may be used for the 
same purposes but does not contain so much oil. The juice of the leaves 
with infusion of rice is given for bile, headache and colic pains. An oint- 
ment is made from the young leaves and milk of the nut, which is apphed 
medicinally in scabies, leprosy and similar cutaneous affections. 

Kadukai— Trrmuuiliti rhehnla. The j?all-nuts when rubbed with 

110 Travancobe Manual. [ Cn$]f. 

an equal portion of catechu are used in aphthous complaints and 
considered a valuable remedy. The unripe dried fruits are reco mmende d 
as pui-gative by the natives; mixed with honey the fruit is given in infusion 
in dropsy and diabetes, and hsemorrhoidal affections and externally in cases 
of sore eyes &c. 

Sivxxko^nion—Tragim cannahinu. The root of this stinging plant 
is considered diaphoretic and is prescribed in decoction as an alterative; 
also in infusion in ardent fevers. 

Nerunji — Tribulus lanuginosus. The leaves and root are said to poss- 
ess diuretic properties, and are prescribed in decoction, while the seeds 
powdered are given in infusion to increase the urinary discharge, also in 
dropsy and gonorrhoea. The herb is said to be astringent and vermifuge 
and the seeds cordial. 

Peppodal — Trichomnthes cucumerina. The seeds are reputed good 
in disorders of the stomach and the tender shoots and dried capsules 
are very bitter and aperient and are reckoned among the laxative medicines- 
In decoction with sugar they are given to assist digestion. The juice of 
the leaves is emetic and that of the root very purgative, while the stalk in 
decoction is expectorant. 

Narumpauel — Uvaria narum. This climbing shrub seems peculiar to 
Travancore. A sweet-scented greenish oil is obtained from the roots by 
distillation, which as well as the root itself is used in various diseases. The 
roots which are fragrant and aromatic are also used in fevers and hepatic 
as well as cutaneous diseases. 

Chembaravalli — Vitis indica. The juice of this plant mixed with 
oil is applied to affections of the eyes. The root beaten up and mixed 
with oil and cocoanut milk is said to be a cure for carbuncles, pustules 
and boils, and the juice of the root mixed with sugar is cathartic. 

Ginger, Inji — Zingiber officinale. The ginger plant is extensively 
cultivated all over Travancore and its method of cultivation is described 
elsewhere. The ginger from Malabar is reckoned superior to any other. 
Ginger from its stimulant and carminative properties is used in toothaches, 
gout, rheumatism of the jaw and relaxed uvula with good eft'ect and the 
essence of ginger is said to promote digestion. It is said to act power- 
fully on the mucous membrane though its effects are not always 
so decided on the remoter organs as on those into which it comes 
into immediate contact. Beneficial results have been arrived at when it 

ni.] Flora. Ill 

been admimstered in pulmonary and catarrhal affections. Headaches 
have also been frequently relieved by the application of ginger poultices to 
ihe forehead. The native doctors recommend it in a variety of ways, 
eodemally in paralysis and rheumatism, and internally with other ingre- 
dients in intermittent fevers. 

Jujube, Elantha — Zizyphus jujuba. The fruit of this small tree is 
sweet and palatable, and the seeds are given interndUy with other in- 
gredients to allay irritation in the throat, coughs &c., Mixed with butter- 
milk the seeds are also given in biUous affections, and mixed with oil exter- 
nally in rheumatism. The bark of root powdered and mixed with oil is 
supplied to ulcers. A drink prepared from the leaves boiled in 
milk is given in virulent gonorrhoea; the leaves boiled and applied to the 
navel in the form of a plaster take away dysuria and strangury, and the 
juice of the root mixed with castor oil seeds is used as a purgative in bad 
stomachic complaints. 

Flowering and Ornamental plants. 

AUamanda cathartica. This showy plant was introduced into India 
from Guiana in 1803. It has become quite naturalised and is one of the 
handsomest ornaments of gardens. If allowed to climb up large trees, 
the effect is very striking and beautiful owing to the clusters of bright 
yellow flowers it is covered with. 

Samstravadi — Barringtonia acutangula. This as well as its allied 
species, B, racemosa, are both handsome trees with long pendulous 
racemes of scarlet flowers, commonly to be met with along the banks 
of our backwaters. 

Mandarai. There are two varieties. The Velutha mandarai, 
BauHnia acuminata, is a favomite shrub in gardens, the lai'ge white 
fragrant flowers having a pretty appearance; the Chuvanna mandarai, 
Bauhinia variegata, is a small handsome and ornamental tree in gardens 
having beautiful purple flowers. 

Porasu, or Palasa — Butea frondosa. This is a middle - sized 
tree which when in flower has a very striking appearance from 
its bright scarlet corollas. The natives are fond of offering 
the flowers in their temples and the women by intertwining the rich 
scarlet blossoms in their hair assume a very attractive and pleasing 

Saralkonnai — Cassia fistula. This is easily recognised by its beauti- 
fid and fragrant long pendulous racemes of yellow flowers and is used 

m Travancobb Manual. [Chap, 

laorgely in medicine. The flowera form a favourite offering to the God 

Chirutekku — Clerodendron serratum. This is a very ornamental 
shrub cultivated in Travancore. Its flowers are pale blue with lower lip 

Sankhapushpam — Clitorea ternatea. This a very common creeper 
with pretty blue or white flowers. It is very ornamental for trellis work 
but by its quick spreading it is apt to become a little troublesome in 

Kasturimanjal — Curcuma arcmatica. An ornamental and beauti- 
ful plant, abounding in the Travancore forests with flowers, largish, pale- 
rose coloured with a yellow tinge along the middle of the lip. 

Mm-unga — Erijthriiia indica. A small tree with scarlet flowers 
much used in these parts for the support of the betel vines and serving as 
an excellent hedge plant from its being armed with numerous prickles. 

Gloriosa superha. This splendid creeper with flowers yellow 
and crimson-mixed is commonly met with in the Travancore forests. It 
is considered one of the most ornamental plants any country can boast of, 

Chemparuthi — Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. This shiub is generally 
cultivated in gardens and grows to a height of 12-15 feet. Throughout 
the year may be seen its large flowers, single or double, crimson, yellow 
or white. 

Adakodien — Holostemma rheedii. The flowers of this creeper 
found largely in the Covalam jungles near Trivandrum are remarkably 
pretty and would answer well for trellis work in gardens. 

Thetti — Ixora coccinea. The Ixoras are all very ornamental plants 
with white, cream or orange-coloured flowers. The shurbs grow 
to a height of 4 or 5 feet and flower all through the year. The name 
ixora is derived from the Hindu deity Iswara to whom the beautiful scarlet 
flowers are offered in temples. 

Kattumallika — Jasminum angustifolium. The flowers of this 
twinin<» shrub are large, white with a faint tinge of red, star-shaped and 

Kattujirakamulla — Jasinimim hirsutum. This is a fine-looking 
plant and very desirable in gardens from its white fragrant flowers which 
open in succession. JirakamuUa or Jasjninum savihac is another plant 
of the same species commonly cultivated in gardens for its fragrant flowers. 

m.] Flora. 118 

Manimaruthu— La<7^?-s^?-cema flos-regince. This, as already refer« 
red to, is without exception one of the most showy trees of the Indian 
forests when in blossom. It is now commonly cultivated in gardens on 
this coast where the moist damp climate is most suitable for its growth and 
the full development of its rich rose-coloured blossoms. In the forests 
near the banks of rivers it grows to an enormous size, some having purple 
flowers and forming a most beautiful and striking appearance. 

Nedumchetti — Memecylon amplexicaule. A handsome flowering 
shrub common in our forests. In April and May it is covered with numerous 
very small bluish purple flowers. M. tinctorium, another shrub of the same 
species, is also common and highly ornamental in gardens when in flower, 
the stem being crowded with beautiful sessile purple florets. 

Champaka — Michelia champaca. This tree is celebrated for the 
exquisite perfume of its flowers and is highly venerated by the Hindus 
being dedicated to Vishnu. The natives adorn their heads with them, the 
rich orange colour of the flowers contrasting strongly with their dark 
black hair. Its medicinal properties have already been referred to. 

Indian Cork tree — Millifigtoiiia horteiisis. This tree with numer- 
ous, large, pure white and fragrant flowers is very handsome and orna- 
mental and well adapted for avenues and plantations. 

Vellila or Vellimadantai — Musscenda frondosa. A common shrub 
having gold-coloured flowers all through the year. The white calycine 
leaf contrasting with the golden coloured flower gives this shrub a conspi- 
cuous appearance. 

Lotus, Tamara — Nelumhium speciosum. The large white or rose- 
coloured flowers of the lotus common in tanks throughout India are held 
specially sacred among the Hindus. 

Sweet-scented Oleander, Arali — Nerium odoruvi. There are two or 
three varieties of this shrub common on the banks of rivers and channels 
with deep red, white, rose-coloured, single and double flowers. 

Parijatakam or Pavazhamalli — Nycfanthes arhor-tristis. The bright 
red flowers of this small tree give it a very lively and attractive appear- 
ance, especially in the evenings and nights when a very delicious 
fragrance is given out. 

Alii — Nyviplm rubra. This beautiful flower is common in ditches 
and tanks but neither so common nor so grand as the Tamara. 

114 Travaxcobe Manual. [Chap. 

Kaitha, Tazhai — Pajulanns odoratissimus. This large and singular- 
looking shrub is very common along the banks of our canals and back- 
waters where they are planted to bind the soil. The flowers are very 
fragrant but are seldom visible; the large red fruit much like a piae-apple 
is very attractive. There is a special variety of this in Central TravaA* 
core, known by the name of Kanaganaire. 

Venga — Pterocarpus viarsxtpium. This has been already refer- 
red to as being a large and very beautiful tree especially when in flower, 
with flowers small, sweet-scented and bright yellow. 

Nandiyavatta — Tabernse^montana coronaria. There is a variety 
with double flowers which are fragrant at night. It is more common in 
gardens than the single one. 

Among the other indigenous flowers may be mentioned, the Javanti 
{Vicoa auriculata?), the common rose, found only in gardens, the Andi- 
mallika, a small %nolet flower blossoming in the evening, and the Kolundu, 
a shrub whose leaves are very fragrant. 

Concluding remarks.— The foregoing account of our forests might 
produce an impression on the general reader of the abundance of forest 
wealth in Travancore. This however is a chimera, whatever might have 
been their condition in bygone times, when Travancore forests are said to 
have been indented upon for the building of the British Navy, and Travan- 
core Teak entered largely in the construction of ships that fought the 
battle of the Nile and gave \'ictory to Nelson at Trafalgar. Such is not 
the case at any rate now. In the first place, there is no part of Travan- 
core known as tlie ' Impenetrable forest * marked in Ward and Conner's 
maps, except in the sense of underwood and * Inja-padappu ' (thicket of 
Acacia iyitsia) growing luxuriantly to the detriment of the jungle- wallah's 
easy movements. In tlie second place, Travancore-grown teak has been 
found not enough to satisfy local Marahmut or D. P. W. wants. Burma teak 
has been imported more than once. And there is besides a perennial com- 
plaint from the people that they cannot get fairly good teak, nor in suffi- 
cient quantities, for their own house-building purposes. Considered in any 
light, it may be safely stated that the * untold wealth ' of the Travancore 
forests is a thing of the past ; it cannot apply to present-day conditions. 
If a sustained policy of care and economy is vigilantly followed for the 
next 100 years or so, the Travancore forests may be resuscitated with real 
advantage to the State and prosperity to the agricultural ryots. The work 
of devastation has been unfortunately carried out with such activity, espe- 
cially in the sixties and seventies of the last century. But there is no 

in.] Floba. 118 

doubt that a vast field for private enterprise exists in the Travancore jungles 
and Travancore minerals. It requires knowledge, perseverance, capital 
and combined effort to utilize them. Mr. T. Ponnambalam Pillay* M. B. A. s. 
has collected some valuable data on this subject while he acted as Cons^i'- 
vator of our Forests, 3 years ago. He believes that there are 1,000 species 
of trees in Travancore against 1,200 for all India and 160 in Europe. Out 
of this, the Forest Department of the State respects only 4 Royal and 20 
Reserved trees. There is a piece of forest known as the Yerur Reserve. It 
has an area of 100 square miles, each square mile containing timber of the 
24 species to the value of 1 lac of rupees. Thus for 100 square miles the value 
of this timber is 100 lacs. The extent of the total reserved area in Travan- 
core is about 2,350 square miles. Of this, some tracts such as Kulattu- 
puzha, Ranni, Konni and Malayattur are superior to Yerur, while there are 
others inferior to it. To add to these, there are unreserved forests in which 
are to be found the superior species already referred to, besides the Royal 
trees foimd in private property. Thus following the calculation, the amount 
of the value of the timber from those trees can be put down at 2,500 lacs of 
Rupees or 25 years' revenue of the State. Only a few species of trees 
are made use of by the people in Travancore. This is due either to 
ignorance of the quality of the other species, oi' to sentiment on the 
part of the consumers. The timber called Irul or Irupul or Iron-wood 
(Xylia dolabriformis) is largely used in Bmina and Ceylon for build- 
ing purposes. Though it is a very hardy wood it is not in requisition 
in Travancore. For a long time Thambagam or Kongu (Hopea parvi- 
flora) was not used in Travancore, and it is only some time since its 
virtues were known to the house-building public. It is therefore possi- 
ble to introduce into the market those species that are now not known. 
Again there are certain trees which are not close-grained and of a perish- 
able nature. Scientists have foimd out a method by means of which 
certain chemical substances are injected into the trees to render the 
timber durable, and to secure immunity from the attacks of insects. 
Thus the wealth of the Forests can be increased. It has been seen that 
the value of the 24 species of timber in the forests came to 25 years* revenue 
of the State, and the value of the remaining ones can safely be put down to 
an equal amount. In speaking of timber, fire-wf;;)d has not been included. 
This article of daily want is obtained from the country and not imported 
from outside Travancore. Every individual of the State consumes at the 
rate of a chuckram (six and three-fourth pies) worth of fuel every day. 
Omitting one-fourth of the population w4io live on the sea-board towns 

• In a lecture delivered under the uusi>iees of tlu* Vablie Lecture Coiiinn'ttee, Trlvau- 
drum, in 1002. 

116 Travancoke Manual. [Chap. 

and villages and use eocoanut shells for fire-wood, and omitting another 
one-fourth of the population who aie able to get their fuel from their 
private compounds, and a third one-fourth of the population who gather 
dried leaves and twigs on the road side and other places and use them and 
cow-dung cakes in the place of fire-wood, there remains but one-fourth of 
the whole population of the State who get their fire-wood from the forest 
and the value of the quantity used by them comes to lis. 25,000 daily. 
The value of the large quantities that ar*3 exported as well as those used 
for the several mills and factories, and for the manufacture of sugar, 
lemon-grass oil, and charcoal may be put down at Rs. 5,000. Thus 
the cost of the total quantity of fire-wood used in a day may be put down 
at Es. 30,000. To this an equal amount which rots away in the forests 
may well be added without exaggeration. The amount of Rs. 60,000 is 
the value of the fire-wood at the place of consumption or outside the 
forests. Its value at the forests themselves may be put down at one- 
third of that value. Thus the amount consumed in a year is 73 lacs of 
Rupees worth of fire -wood which is the lowest figure possible. The capital 
amount that will be required to produce the 73 lacs must be another 
2,500 lacs of Rupees. Notwithstanding the fact that a large quantity of 
fuel is available in the country the public demand is not met. There is 
not a single private depot in all Travancore, excepting at the mills where 
the rates are exorbitant. People go in for eocoanut shells because they 
cannot get fire-wood. These are not only costly but also not suited for 
cooking, owing to the violent way in which they bmn. At the present mo- 
ment it may not pay to bring in all the fire- wood that rots away in the 
forests. But certainly there is a large quantity that could be brought with 
advantage in order to create a trade in it. In Madras there are fuel-depots 
in every street. Though the proprietors do not take the commodity from 
long distances, still they manage to get about 10 per cent profit. In Tri- 
vandrmn and other populous centres south of Quilon, excepting in small 
bazaars, we cannot get fire-wood unless we take advantage of the carts that 
perambulate the streets in the mornings. This industry has not yet been 
touched ; undoubtedly there is i)lenty of money in it. The sap-wood of all 
coloured trees and the entire volume of all colourless trees, provided there 
is cellulose substance in them, can be made use of for making wood-pulp, 
which plays an important part in the manufacture of paper. The cellulose 
substance found in them should be separated from the rest. This is done 
by putting together small pieces of fresh cut wood and grinding them 
in a mill where water must constantly be poured in. J3y constant 
repetition of this process the fibrous substance will Ix; retained and 
ground down. The same substance is iilso obtained by boiling the frcsb 

III.] Flora. 117 

. c- 
cut pieces already reterred to, and separating the cementing Bubstances 
from the fibres. By either process one-fourth of the original weight 
can be obtained as pulp. It is largely in demand in all manufacturing 
coimtries, and the quantity that is annually imported into Great Britain 
:ind Ireland is alone worth four millions of pounds sterling. Young shoots 
of bamboos, portions of matured bamboos and the surplus quantity of 
those that are not wanted for domestic purposes, several kinds of reeds, 
the wild sugai'-cane and the refuse of the sugar-cane mills are considered 
to be good paper materials. Teak, Sandalwood, Lemon-grass and Cheru. 
punna can give oils of commercial value and will form a basis of remu- 
nerative industry. Tar, gums, resins, tannic acid and dye are also obtain- 
able from ordinary trees if people will come forward and take up the 
matter. The abundance of fibre-material in Travancore is already known. 
It can be increased still more. The well-known senna-leaves are found 
largely in South Travancore. It is as good as the Tinnevelly senna which 
is in great demand in the European markets. Gum kino is not only 
useful for dyeing, but it is also a very valuable medicinal product. The 
value of 1 H) of it when sent back from England with English labels on is 
about Es. 17, but if it is locally prepared it will not exceed Ks. 6. It is 
believed that the Travancore forests contain wealth to the extent of 100 
years' revenue of the State, or 1,000 millions sterling and thus afford an 
inexhaustible field for private industry. 



(Contributed by Harold S. Ferguson P^sg. F. L. s., F. z. s.) 

" The curly progenit 01*8 of man must Imve boeii once o^jvci-ed with hair, both Hexes 
having Ijeards : their ears wore probably pointed, and capablo of movement ; and their bodies 
were pro\ided witli a tail, having tho proper muselcs. Their limbs an<l bodies were also acted 
on by many muselos which now only oecasionally roapi)car, but are normally present in the 
Qiiadrumana . . . These early ancestors of man, thus seen in the dim recesses of time most haFe 
been as yiniply, or even still wum^ simply oriraniat'd than the laneelet or amphioxus. " 

iPreJaiori/ Note, — To luy old triond and brother-cfficer, Mr. H. S. 
Ferguson f. l. s., f. z. s., I am beholden foi* this chapter on the Fauna of 
Travancore — n subject upon which he is an autliority having spent nearly 
the whole of his hfe in tho country, first as a Planter for several 
years on the Travancore Hills, then as the Guardian of the Princes, then 
as Commandant of one of the battahons in the Travancore army ( Nayar 
Brigade), and lastly as the Director of the Government Museum and the 
Public Gardens at Trivandruin. He is a good shikari and has always 
been a diligent student of Natural History, both of which qualifications en- 
title him to be reckoned as an authority on the subject. He has de- 
livered several lectures on kindred subjects in pursuance of the scheme of 
Public Lectuj-es instituted by the Travancore Government, and these 
lectures have generally drawn large audiences fiom among the educated 
classes of the Tvivandrum Public. The value of the crontribution has been 
enhanced by the fact that he himself kindly offered to writ(> the chapter 
imsolicited by me — an offer with wliich T readily fell in as T could not 
think of a more competent authority. 

He drafted this chapter about two years ago, but linally corrected it 
just as he was leaving Trivaiidrum on fui-lough in March 1904. As his 
contribution to the Natural Histoi'v section of the State, he has discovered 
several species of reptiles and insects new to science ; his observations 
upon cetaceiins have been received with interest and his study of the 
growth of tadpoles the result of which he has embodied in Notes which he 
has made known to the scientific world, all point him out to be a natura- 
list of no mean order. 

The chapter is inserted hvw. just as he left it. Not being a specialist 
myself on the subject, I have not taken the libiM-ty to correct, abridge or 
modify it in anv wav. 


Chap. IV.] Fauna. 119 

Oeneral. Travancore is a narrow strip of land more or less 
triangular in shape with a maximum breadth of 75 miles and a 
length of 174 miles. It is bounded on the west by the sea and on 
the east by the watershed of the hills which run from Cape Comorin 
to the extreme north, ending in the Kannan Devan hills or High 
Bonge, which is connected with the Anamalays on the north and the 
Pnlneys on the east. The annual rainfall varies in different parts but is 
abundant ever5rwhere except in the extreme south. The average tem- 
perature in the low country is 85^ and at 2,100 feet elevation it is ten 
degrees less. The dry season which lasts from the middle of January to 
the middle of April is well marked. As is usually the case where there 
are dense forests and a heavy rainfall, cases of melanism are not 
uncommon and seasonal variation in colour constantly occurs. All coun- 
tries are characterised by the different kinds of animals that inhabit them 
and they can be grouped into regions, subregions &c., in accordance with 
the way in which these animals are distributed. In this ] espect Travan- 
core belongs to the great Indo-Malay, or Oriental Region, which includes 
the whole of India, Ceylon, Assam, Burma, Formosa, Hainan, Cochin 
China, Malacca, Sumatra, Java, Boraeo, the Phihppine Islands and part 
of China. It is divided into tlu-ee subregions, Cisgangetic, Trans- 
gangetic and Malayan. The first of these comprises *'India proper from 
the base of the Himalayas to Cape Comorin and from the Arabiafi Sea 
and eastern boimdary of the Panjab tract to the Bay of Bengal and the 
hills forming the eastern limit of the Gangetic alluvium with the addition 
of the island of Ceylon", and in this Travancore is included. It has, 
however, affinities in its hill fauna with that of the Himalayas and the 
south-western hill-group in Ceylon, but they are not sufficient, says 
Mr. Blanford, "to enable the S. Indian and Ceylonese areas to be classed 
with the Himalayan forest area in a separate subdivision or subregion". 
It has also affinities with the Malayan subregion as is shown by the occur- 
rence of such genera as Lor is and Tragulm among Mammals, Draco 
among Reptiles, and Ixalus among Amphibians. Travancore itself may 
be divided into four divisions : — (1) The forest-clad hill range up to and 
including the Cardamom Hills with an average height of 4,500 feet. (2) 
The Kannan Devan Hills or High Range more open in character and 
with an average height of 6,500 feet. (3) The low country from the north 
as far as Nagercoil. (4) The low country south of Nagercoil. Here the 
rainfall is only 25 inches and the palmyra takes the place of the cocoamit 
palm. The fauna resembles that of the east coast and here only in Tra- 
vancore are found among Mannnals the S. Indian Hedgehog {Eri/iacens 
micropus), among Birds the smaller white Scavenger-vulture (Neopkroji 

120 Travan'Core Manual. [Chap. 

ginginianus), the grey Partridge {Framolinus pondicerianus) and some 
others, and among Eeptiles, Gongyloplm conicus and Eryx johnii. 

Mammals. There are no Mammals pecuhar to Travancore, but 
the Toque Monkey (Macacm pileatus), the Ceylonese Pahn-civet 
[Paradoxuriis aureus) and the Ceylon brown Mungoose [Herpestes 
fulvescens), fonnerly believed to be confined to Ceylon, are found in 
Travancore, and lately two Dolphins, Tursiops fergusoixi and Sotalia 
fergusoni, have been taken off the coast. 

There are four species of Monkeys, two of which, the grey, or Bonnet 
monkey {Macacus sinicus) and the Toque monkey {M. pileatus), are 
found only in the low country and do not ascend the hills to any height. 
The other two species are ( Macacms silenus ) the Lion-tailed monkey, and 
( Sejjmopithecus johnii ) the Nilgiri Langur, which are only to be found on 
the hills at elevations over 2,000 feet. The former may be met with in 
small herds but often goes about solitary. The latter is always found in 
small troops. The loud booming note of the male is a familiar sound in the 
hills. They ai'e very gentle and easily tamed and are clean in their habits 
in captivity. CooHes on the tea estates are very fond of the flesh of these 
animals and are always anxious to get them as medicine. The Malabar 
Langur ( Semnopithecus hf/poleucus) , a grey monkey with a black face, is 
found in the Cochin hills and in the the Kambam valley on the eastern 
slopes of the Cardamom Hills ; but I do not think it has been actually 
recorded from Travancore. Of the Lemuroids there is only one represent- 
ative the Slender Loris ( L. gracilis ) found in the lowland forests ; ac- 
cording to Jerdon it is " rare on the Malabar Coast '', but so far as Tra- 
vancore is concerned this does not hold good as it is decidedly common. 
Some years ago I saw two specimens of a larger species and the Eanis 
about Ponmudi say they know of two kinds. To describe their respective 
sizes they point to their wrists and then to their thighs. I have failed to 
obtain a specimen, however, and have no record of the ones I saw. 

The Carnivora are well represented in Travancore. To begin ^ith, 
there are six Cats varying in size from the Tiger to the little Rusty-spotted 
Cat (Felis rubiginosa). Tigers are not uncommon on the hills, but in 
the south where there is an abimdance of forest and very httle grass, they 
are not easy to get. The next in size, the Leopard (jF. pardus), is very 
common and many skins are brought in by villagers yearly for the 
Government reward. The black variety is common and is usually 
bolder and fiercer than the ordinary one. The Fishing Cat {F, viverrina) 
is a fine cat, coloured as its name implies, like the civets, grey with black 

IV.] Fauna. 181 

tpote and lines. It is usually found about the neighbourhood of the back- 
waters. I cannot agree with Blyth that it is ** a particularly tamable 
species ". Those we have had in captivity in the Pubhc Gardens have in- 
variably been very shy, sulky and fierce. The Jungle Cat (F, chaus) is 
the commonest of all and is found in the low country; in and about 
villages, it breeds freely with domestic cats. The Leopard Cat ( F. ben- 
galens^is ) used to be common some years ago about Kottayam but is now 
confined to the hills. This beautiful httle cat is about the size of a 
domestic cat and is marked vnth black spots on a fulvous ground colour. 
It is commonest now in the High Eange. The smallest of the six cats is 
the Rusty-spotted Cat {F. rubiginosa) which is found in the low country 
but is not conmion. The young of the Jungle Cat are very like the young of 
this species and it is difficult to distinguish them till they grow up. There 
are two Civets one of which ( Viverra civettina ) is very much larger than 
the other. Both are kept in captivity for the sake of the **mu8k" 
secreted by a gland near the tail. 

Three Toddy Cats are found, one of which, Paradox urus jerdoni, is 
confined to the hills at elevations over 3,000 feet. They are all nocturnal 
and feed on fruits though they are not above taking a meat diet when 
they can get it. The common Toddy Cat (P. niger) is a perfect pest as 
it invariably finds its way into houses and takes up its abode between the 
roof and ceiling where its movements and its smell make it a most undesir- 
able visitor. The third species (P. aureus) I have only found in Tri- 

The Mungoose family are represented by four species of which the 
stripe-necked (Herpestes vitticollis) is the largest. It is found only in 
the forests and has very strong claws which enable it to dig out any prey 
that it has run to ground. H, fuscus is confined to the hills, but the 
common mungoose H. mungo and H. fulvescens are found in the low 

Fifty years ago Hyasnas were common in the neighbourhood of Tri- 
vandrum. Col. Drury in his Life and Sport in SoufJwm India says 
" my shikari brought in this mornining two Hyaenas he had killed about 
seven miles from this*'. But now there are hardly any to be found. 
Jackals are plentiful and in the hills packs of wild dogs ( Cyon dulchunen- 
sis) hunt and clear the district they happen to be in of every kind of game. 
When living on the hills I often heard them in full cry and on one occa- 
sion, attracted by the sound, three of us ran in the direction and arrived in 
time to find them pulling down a Barking Deer (CervvUis muntjac). We 

l22 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

drove them off and took the deer ourselves. On the other hand I have 
also seen them running mute. My own belief is that this is their usnai 
habit but they give tongue when their quarry is in view. I am the more 
convinced of this as the sounds we heard were not continuous nor of long 

The Indian Marten (Mustela flavigula, var Gwatkinsi) is found on 
the hills, rarely in the south but more commonly in Peermade and the 
Cardamom Hills. They are nocturnal and sometimes give trouble by 
breaking into fowl-houses. In the backwaters both the common Otter 
{Lutra vulgaris) and the Smooth Indian Otter (i. viacrodus) are to be 
met with. The last of the camivora is the Sloth-bear or Indian Bear 
(Melursus nrsinus). This is found on the hills at all elevations and is 
more dreaded by the hillmen than any other animal as it will attack 
at once if suddenly disturbed. 

The next great group of Mammals is the Insectivores. About their 
habits there is little to be said. They are all nocturnal. The only Hedge- . 
hog found in Travancore is the South Indian ( Erinaceus vvicropus ) and 
it is only found in the extreme south about Nagercoil. Of the Shrews the 
so called **Musk rat" {Crocidura murina) is the best known and 
there are one or two other species of this genus recorded from the hills, 
but I have not come across specimens and have failed to obtain them from 
the hillmen. 

The bats are well represented from the great dull coloured fruit- 
eating Flying-lox (Pteropus mediuf(), conspicuous everywhere by its 
habit of associating in large colonies, to the little richly coloured Painted 
Bat {Cetivoula picta), hardly larger than a good-sized butterfly, that 
hides itself in the recesses of a plantain tree. The Fruit-eating Bats play 
an important part in the dispersion of seeds as they usually carry oflf the 
fruits to some distance and drop the seed when they have fed on the 
pulp. Insectivorous Bats enter houses very frequently at night and feed 
on the insects that are attracted by the light. So far, I have identified 
about fourteen speci(?s; but there are many more, I am sure, to be found 
on the hills. 

Of the Rodents, our next group which includes the Squirrels, Bats, 
and Mice, Porcupines, Hare &c., the Porcupine (Hystrix leucura) is the 
largest. It is found only in the hills and is very destructive to garden 
produce. The Black-naped Hare (Lepus nigricollis) is common in the 
low country and on the hills. There are two kinds of Fljdng-squirrel 
both found only on the hills, the larger (Pteromj/s oral) is not unconamon 

IV.] Fauna. 133 

but the smaller (Sciuropterus fuscicapillus) is somewhat rare. The large 
black and red Squirrel {Sciurus iiidicus) is only found on the hills from 
500 feet elevation upwards; its loud cry may be often heard in the forest. 
There are three small striped squirrels of which the Palm-squirrel 
(S. palmarum) is a famihar visitor to human habitations where its loud per- 
sistent chirrup when alarmed or exited renders it often most unwelcome. 
The other two kinds, (S. tristriatus) and {S, suhlineatus), are found only 
on the hills, the latter only at elevations of over 2,000 feet. There is, how- 
ever, one exceptional locality in the low country, seven miles from Tri- 
vandrum, where I have obtained specimens. Here there are remains of 
the old forest which once covered the whole of the country but is now 
confined to the hills. Of the Eat tribe the Malabar Spiny Mouse {Plata^ 
canthomys Idsiurus) is the most interesting. It is found only on the 
hills where it lives in hollows made in old forest trees. It is something 
like a dormouse. The Antelope-rat {Gerbillus indicus) may often be 
seen at dark crossing the roads ; it makes its bm-rows in open places such 
as the Parade gi-ounds and the Public Gardens in Trivandrum. Of 
the remaining species, some six in all, the Bandicoot-rat (Nesocia handi* 
cota) is the largest and the common Indian Field-mouse (Mus-buduga), 
an elegant little beast, the smallest. The common rat is ubiquitous and 
frequents human habitations most persistently ; it is a splendid chmber 
and runs up a punkah rope with the greatest ease. 

From the small Kodents to the lordly Elephant is a great step, but 
this animal is the first member of the next order we have to consider viz., 
the Ungulates. Elephants are protected in Travancore and their ivory 
is a royalty of the Government so that they are fairly numerous in the 
hills. Mr. T. F. Bourdillon in his Report on the Forests of Travancore 
writes as follows : — 

*• These animals are wild in the forests, and are in some places particularly 
abundant. They do not always remain in the same spot, but move about over 
large areas, their movements being regulated by the quantity and condition of 
the food available, and by the state of the weatlier. Over the greater part of 
Travancore they descend from the hills as soon as the water begins to fail there, 
that is to say about January, and they are then to be found in the thickest and 
coolest parts of the lower forests in the vicinity of some river. As soon as the 
showers begin to fall in April, their instinct tells them that they can again obtain 
water on the hills, and that fresh grass has spi-ung up where tiie dry herbage 
was so lately burnt, and they immediately commence an upward movement to 
the higb'^'-.^ound. There they remain till about September when some, but not 
all of them, descend to the lower slopes of the hills and even to the low country, 
to see what they can get from the fields of hill-paddy then beginning to ripen, 
and they often destroy large quantities of grain. In November these migrants 
again ascend the hills and join their companions. Advantage is taken by u« of 
the annual descent from the hills in the hot weather to cat<ih these animals Iq 

124 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

pits, but in November no attempt is made to capture them as the pitd are then 
full of water. The question has often been debated whether the number of 
elephants in the country is increasing or decreasing. I beheve that most people 
would say that elephants are more numerous than formerly, but I am inclined 
to think that this impression is formed from the increased damage done to 
cultivation of all sorts. If we recollect that cultivation is yearly extending, we 
can well understand that elephants are much more troublesome now than 
formerly, without there being any increase in their numbers ; and if we could take 
a census of them we should probably (ind that their numbers are about station- 
ary. I once attempted to estimate how many there are in the State ; and I 
came to the conclusion that there must be from 1,000 to 1,500, the greater 
number of them being found in North Travancore, especially the Cardamom 
Hills. Sometimes elephants die in large numbers, as in the year 1866, when a 
murrain attacked them in the forests near Malayathur, and 50 pairs of tusks 
were brought to the Forest Officers at that place and Thodupuzha in April and 
May of that year. Such epidemics would doubtless occur more frequently if 
the number of elephants increased unduly and the supply of food fell short and 
their rarity is a sign that the animals are not troubled for want of food though 
their migrations show that it is not always to be obtained in the same place." 

The Gaur, the so called "Bison*' of Europeans (Bos gaums), is the 
finest representative of the existing bovines. They go about in herds of 
which one old bull is the acknowledged leader and master. WTien age 
tells upon him he may be driven out after severe fight by a younger and 
a stronger one and he then abandons the herd and wanders about solitary. 
It is these solitary bulls that generally afford the finest trophies to the 

There are no wild Sheep in Travancore and the (xoats are represent- 
ed by a solitary species, the Nilgiri Wild Goat {Uemitragus hylocrius) mis- 
called by Europeans the Ibex. They are to be found in herds on the 
hills in suitable localities where there are grassy slopes and precipitous 
rocks. The bucks leave the herd from December to April when the does 
breed and go about with theii* kids. No Antelopes are found in Travan- 
core but the Deer are represented by four species, the Sambur (Cervus 
unicolor)y found at all elevations where there is a forest; the Spotted Deer 
[Cervus axis) that go about in herds and frequent open forests and bamboo 
jungle at the foot of the hills ; the Eib-faced or Barking-Deer (Cervulus 
?;i?/7if/ac), usually found solitary, or in pairs at all elevations on the hills 
in thick forest ; and the tiny little Mouse-deer (Tragulus vwrnimia) that 
stands only about a foot high, and is also to be found only on the hills, 
where it leads a solitary and retired life except in the breeding season 
when the male and female keep together. 

The Indian Wild Boar is the last of the Ungulates. Herds or "Soun- 
ders'* of these animals are to be met with at the foot of the hills and about 
^he cultivated patches where they do much damage to the crops. The young 

: i ■ «•■!. 

■■'■-.' i -. V 

V- ■ . M : .r 
■ / : -If" 


Elephant at Bal^ in i?)C Kapamanai Rivep. 


Photo by J. B. DXruz. 

IV.] Fauna. 125 

are striped aud spotted. Of the Cetaceans that frequent the coast no, 
much is known. The httle Indian Porpoise {Neopliocceiia phoccenoides) 
the False Killer (Psendorca crassidms)^ the Common Dolphin {Delphmus 
delphis), Tursiops catalania, Tursiops fergusoni and Sotalia fergtcsoni are 
the only ones so far identified. The Indian Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) 
is the only representative of the order Edentata. It feeds almost entirely 
on white ants which it seeks at night; during the day it lies up in a burrow 
scooped out under ground. There is a Game Preservation Kegulation 
which is in force in the hill districts of Central and North Travancore. 
The close season for all Big Game is from 31st May to 1st October. 

Birds. The birds cannot be treated of at such length as the mam- 
mals, as there are about 330 species found in Travancore. Of these, two 
only are peculiar to it while the third is only found elsewhere on the 
Pulneys. They were first brought to notice by Mr. Bourdillon and 
two are named after him, Bourdillon*s Babbler {Rhopocichla hourdilloni) 
Bourdillon*s Black-bird (Merula bourdilloni). This extends to the Pulneys 
and Blanford's Laughing- thrush {Trochalopteron vieridionale) which is 
only found in the extreme south above 4,000 feet on the tops of the hills 
in forest. As it is not possible with the limited space at my disposal to 
enumerate all the birds, it will perhaj^s be the best way to point out those 
that are chai'acteristic of the different divisions into which, as I have saidi 
Travancore may be separated. To take the low country first. Two spe- 
cies of crows, the Indian House-crow (Cor v us spleiidens) and the Jungle- 
crow (Corvus macrorhynchus) are ubiquitous, while the Drongo or King- 
crow (Dicrurus) uteris the next most conspicuous bird with the exception per- 
haps of the common House-sparrow which is found wherever there ai'e 
human habitations. Flocks of Rose-ringed green Paroquets {Palceornis 
torquatus) may be seen feeding on fruit trees or rapidly flying in search 
of food and uttering shrill cries as they fly. Perched on the telegraph 
wires or seated on the ground, a little green bird with a long bill and tail, 
the outer feathers of which are elongated and pointed, may be constantly 
met with moving from its perch in short flights after its insect prey. This 
is the coomon Bee-eater (Merops viridis). A relation of it, the white-breast- 
ed Kingfisher (Halcijon smyrtmisis) is a much more gorgeously-clad bird; 
its white breast, chestnut brown head aud blue black make it evident to the 
eye, while its high pitched tremulous cry forces itself on the ear. It fre- 
quents gardens and feeds on insects mainly, while a smaller edition of it 
Alcedo ispida, the common Kingfisher, is found on the banks of every tank 
or stream looking for fish to which its diet is limited. Another common 
Kingfisher is the Indian Pied (Cerylc varia), a black and white bird wliich 

126 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

may be seen hovering over water and shooting down with a direct plunge 
when it descries a fish. Towards dusk another relation, the Commoil 
Indian Nightjar (C(y;n??rM/(/z^s' asiaticiis) vaay be heai-d. It is known as 
the **ice bird" as its cry resembles the sound of a pebble skimming along 
the ice. Another bird that forces itself on the ear is the Tailor-bird (Ortfuh 
tomus sutorius) , it is a tiny plain greenish brown bird, white below, with a 
remarkably loud voice which it constantly exercises in crying "ptetty, 
pretty, pretty, " or as some described it "towhee, towhee, towhee'*'. The 
prettiest of all our garden birds are the Honey Suckers or "Sun-birds," 
tiny little creatures shining with glorious metallic colours. Nothing can 
be more charming than to watch a flock of the commonest kind, Arachr 
nechthra zeylojiica, skirmishing through a bush in flower, never still, at 
one time spreading their tails like fans, anon fluttering their wings np 
and down and keeping up a constant chatter. There are two other kinds, 
A. htenia and -1. asiaticay but these are not so conspicuous. The small- 
est and brightest of all, A. minima, is abundant at the foot of the hills 
and may be found at all elevations. Every one has heard of the " Seven 
sisters*' . This name is given to various kinds of babblers in different parts 
of India which have a strong family likeness and go about in small flocks 
of about half a dozen. They are mostly earthy brown and they vary in 
the colour of the throat. Our commonest species is the Southern Indian 
Babbler (Cratcropus striatus), but there are two other kinds found, 
C. griseiis and C canorus, the latter chiefly at the foot of the hills. Another 
well-known bird is the Madras red-vented Bulbul (Molpastes hcemorrhoua)^ 
a plain brown bird with a black head, white upper tail coverts and crimson 
lower ones. It is often kept as a pet by natives. A bright-coloured bird 
with a good deal of yellow and white about it may often be seen about the 
trees and bushes hunting for insects ; this is the common lora {JEgithina 
tiphia). The female is green and white. Its presence may always be 
known by its peculiar note which sounds like a prolonged plaintive in- 
drawn whistle on I) sharp falling to a short note on F sharp. 

Tliere are thiee Shrikes that may be seen not uncommonly, two of 
which go about in flocks. One, the common Wood-shrike ( Tephrodamis 
pondicerianus), a plain ashy-biown bird with a broad white eyebrow has 
a tuneful whistle well described by Mr. Aitken as "Be thee cheery**. The 
other, the small Minivet, has a finer dress of black orange and scarlet but 
this is only sported by the males, the females and young having it more 
subdued. The third, the Large Cuckoo Shrike, is a grey bird considerably 
bigger than the others. Conspicuous by their colour are the Orioles com- 
monlv known as ''Mango birds", fine yellow fellows with some black 

rv.] Fauna. 127 

about them. The Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus indicus), which is only a 
winter visitor, has it on the nape, while the other the Black-headed Oriole 
wears it on the head. They have a rich flute-like whistle. No one can 
hil to notice the common Myna {Acridotheres tristis), a plain brown bird 
with a black head and breast shading off into vinous brown often seen 
walking after cattle and as its name implies hunting for grasshoppers, 
its favourite food. It is a splendid mimic and in captivity can be taught 
to talk and it readily picks up the notes of other birds. Another Myna, 
the Jungle Myna very like it in colouration and habits, is also common. 
It is a smaller- bird than the Common Myna and may be distinguished 
from it by its size and the absence of the bare skin round the eyes. A 
white bird with a black crested head and two very long white tail feathers 
may often be seen flitting in undulating flight from tree to tree. This is 
the Indian Paradise Flycatcher {Terpsiphone paradisi), commonly known 
as the "Cotton thief ", as he looks as if he were making off with a load of 
that staple. His wife, the "Fire thief", has an almost equally long tail, 
only it is red ; hence her nickname. The young males take after their 
mother at first and only get to the white stage in the fourth year. Another 
common bird is the Fantail Flycatcher; it is dark brown with white fore- 
head and eyebrows, it has a quaint song that reminds one of the opening 
of a valse tune. One of the few birds that has a really pretty song is 
the Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis), a familiar bird in its white and 
black livery, to be met with in the neighbourhood of human habitations. 
Its sweet notes are the first one hears just as the daw^n is beginning to 
break. Another sweet songster is the Large Pied Wagtail also clad in 
black and w^hite. The Indian Skylark too (^1 /a?/ rZa gulgida), may often 
be heard both in the low country and on the hills in open ground. Another 
Lark, the Madras Bush-lark {Mirafra affinis), is common. It has a habit 
of sitting on some exposed spot such as the roof of a house, whence it rises 
in a short soaring flight while it utters a shrill trilling note. Both it and 
the Indian Pipit (An thus rufiilus) frequent grass land and are to be found 
in crowds on the rice fields after the crop is cut and the ground has dried. 
Most people can recognise a Woodpecker when they see it and there are 
at least three species that are found in the low country, but it is not easy 
to describe them in a few words. The Yellow-fronted Pied Woodpecker 
(Liopicus niahrattensis) may be recognised by its bright yellowish brown 
head. The Malabar Rufous Woodpecker {Micropiernus gularis) is a 
uniform dull rufous. The third is well called the Golden-backed Wood- 
pecker (Brachypternus aurantius ) , its loud screaming call, which it utters 
as it flies, is a familiar sound. So too is the call of the "Copper smith", 

128 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

the Crimson-breasted Barbet {Xantholaema hcofiatocepJiala) . It is a 
green thick-set bird with a yellow throat bordered below by a crimBon band 
and with a crimson forehead; it has a strong coarse beak. A near relation' 
the small Green Barbet ( Thereiceri/x viridis), is also common and to be heard 
frequently. Two not uncommon birds, the Hoopoe (Upupa indica) and the 
Indian Roller (Coracias indica), are conspicuous by their plumage. The 
latter is very like an English Jay. The former is a brown bird with a long 
bill and a large fawn-coloured crest, all the feathers of which are tipped 
with black. Another bird that intrudes upon one's notice by its persistent 
cry is the common Hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius). It is a grey bird 
very like a Shikra, hence its English name; but familiarly it is known as 
the ** Brain-fever bird" for, as the hot weather approaches, its voice may be 
heard first running up a scale and at the end shrieking, time after time* 
what sounds to one's heated imagination like the words " brain fever," 
again and again repeated. Tt is heard by night as often as by day which 
makes it all the more disturbing'. Of the birds of prey there are not a few 
that frequent the plains; many l)eing, however»only winter visitors may be 
safely left out of account. The most familiar of our residents are of course 
the Bi-ahminy and the Connnon Kite; these are too w^ell known to need des- 
cription. The Crested Hawk Eagle {Spizwtufi cirrhatus) is a fine bird, 
for the most part brown, the feathers having darker centres; it has a 
long crest black tipped with white. It is most destructive in the poultry 
yard as it takes up a station on a tree hard by and seizes its opportunity 
to dart down and carry ott' whatever it can; this it will do day after day 
unless it is driven ofif. The Sliikra is also a common bird, while at 
night the Little Spotted Owlets (Athme hrama) and {Scops hakkamopna) 
may often l)e heard. 

Of the Pigeons the only one connnon in the plains is the Indian Blue 
Eock (Cohimba intermedia) which may often be met with in the dry 
paddy fields after the crops are cut. 

Turing now to the marsh and w^ater birds, we find them pretty well 
represented as the backw^aters along the coast afiford them shelter and 
food. In or about every tank where there are bushes, a dark slaty grey 
bird with a white l>reast may be seen for a second, feeding in the open, 
but not longer, as it skulks ofif rapidly into cover with its perky little tail 
uplifted. This is the white-breasted Water-hen {Ammirornis phcenu 
curm). The Water-cock (GaUicrex cinerea) is not its husband but has 
a wife of his own. They are larger birds clad alike, in winter in dark 
brown with paler edges to the feathers ; in summer, however, the male 
dresses more or less in black with some white below. They are common 

IV.] Fauna. 129 

in standing paddy. On every weed-covered tank the elegant Jacanas, 
both the bronze- winged {Metopidius indicus) and the ^ Pheasant -tailed 
(Hydrophasianus chirurgus), are to be seen hke Agag treading delicately 
over the water leaves. The latter in its breeding plumage is a lovely 
sight. Two Lapwings, the Ked-wattled {Sarcogrammtis indicus) and the 
Yellow-wattled (Sarciophorus malaharicus), may be frequently heard 
and seen. The former prefers the neighbom-hood of water and when 
flushed goes oflf remonstrating "why did you do it". The other prefers dry 
plains, where it circles about uttering much the same cry but with one 
note less. Its cry may be heard for some time after dark. These are 
residents and the Little Kinged Plover {Mgialitis duhia) may almost be 
reckoned so, as there are few months in which individuals may not be 
met with. It frequents the shores and paddy fields. Other winter visit' 
ors are the Sandpipers commonly called " Snippets ", the most numerous 
of which are the Common Sandpiper (Totanus hypoleucus) and the Wood 
Sandpiper (T. glareola). Both the Common and Fantail snipe afford 
sport to the gunner in winter while the beatiful Painted Snipe {Rostratulu 
capensis) is a permanent resident. Seated on the posts that mark the 
channel in the backwaters, numbers of Terns are to be seen in winter^ 
they are the Smaller-crested (Sterna media), and on the seashore the 
common Tern (Sterna fluviatilis) is fairly numerous. In the paddy 
fields the Pond Heron (Ardeola grayi) is always abundant and so are the 
Little Green Heron (Butorides javanica) and the Chestnut Bittern 
(Ardetta Ctnnamomea), So far as I have been able to ascertain, the Duck 
are represented by four species of Teal, the Whisthng, the Cotton, the 
Common and the Blue-winged, while the Spotted-billed Duck is 
occasionally met with. The Little Grebe (Podiceps alhipennis) completes 
the list of water birds to be found commonly in the plains. 

Bird life is most abundant at the foot of the hills. Here the "Seven 
sisters" are represented by the Jungle Babbler {Crateropus canorm) 
which has the same colouring and habits as the others of its class. The 
Bulbuls are represented by Jerdon's Chloropsis, a green bird with a black 
chin and a blue moustache, a cheerful httle fellow frequenting trees and 
not to be easily distinguished as its colour harmonises so well with the 
foliage. The Southern Eed-whiskered Bulbul (Otocompsa fuscicaudata) 
is even more abundant and might perhaps be considered to have a pres- 
criptive right to the epithet 'cheerful' , I have used in describing the 
Choloropsis, for to Jerdon he was always "Jocosa" . If you see a plain 
brown bird with a snow white throat and breast and with a perky black 
crest bending forward over its beak you will know it at once. Another 

ISO Tbavancore Manual. [Chap. 

bright coloured bird is the Yellow-browed Bulbul (lole icterica). It is 
mostly yellow with brown wings. It is common up to 2,000 feet. Flocks 
of Malabar Wood-shrikes are to be met with up to 3,000 feet, grey birds 
with a black band through the eye. They keep up a harsh chattering 
as they search the trees for insect food. The Black-backed Pied Shrike 
{Hemipus picafus) is also fairly common and easily recognisable, some 
of the most familiar sounds are the notes of the Southern Grackle {Eukh 
bes religiosa). It is a black bird, and its yellow beak, yellow legs and 
yellow wattles on the back of the head render it unmistakable. It has 
a powerful voice and a variety of notes, some harsh and some pleasing; 
towards sunset it makes itself particularly heard. Most of the Fly- 
catchers are winter visitors and are to be found at high elevations, but the 
little Brown Flycatcher (Alseonax latirostris) is an exception. It is 
resident and is found from the foot of the hills to about 2,000 feet. It 
takes up its perch on a branch and sits motionless until it makes a dash 
after some passing insect when it returns to its perch again. 

Flocks of little Munias, small finch-like birds of three kinds, the 
White-backed (Uroloncha striata), the Spotted (U, ptoictulata) and the 
Black-headed [Miinia malacca) may be seen feeding on the ground or 
clinging to the lantana bushes in which they love to perch. 

Two small Woodpeckers, the Ceylon Pigmy Woodpecker {lyngipictia 
gymnaphthalm2is)€ini the Heart-spotted (Hemicercus can^nte), are fairly 
common. The latter is easily recognised in the first place by its peculiar 
cry something like that of the Kcstril and secondly by its black plumage 
with heart- shaped black spots on the buff coverts of the wing. The 
former is a small bird brown with white streaks on the plumage about 
5 inches long of which one and a half are tail. The Western Blossom- 
headed Paroquet (Pahvornis q/anocephalus) is here conspicuous going 
about in flocks and the Little Indian Grey Tit (Parus atriceps) maybe seen 
at almost all elevations. It has a black head with white cheeks and grey 
back. As one ascends the hills the Southern Tree-pie (Dendrocitta 
leucogastra) is commonly seen. It is a beautiful bird with a black head, 
a snow-white breast, cbestnut-bay back and a tail 12 inches long of grey 
and black. They go about in parties of three or four and are somewhat 
noisy. Another bird that is often heard is the Southern Scimitar 
Babbler {Pomatorhinus horsfieldU). Its peculiar rolling chuckle tells one 
it is there, but the thick underwood it affects renders it difficult to 
discover. The peculiar inconsequent whistle of the Malabar Whistling 
Thrush {Myiophoyieus horsfieldU) is to be heard near every stream in the 
forests. ** The Drunken Plough Boy " is the name it has obtained by 

IV.] Fauna. 181 

its musical efforts. It is a fine bird to look at, black with a considerable 
amoont of blue about it. From the foot of the hills to about 2,000 feet, 
another bird, the Racket-tailed Drongo {Dissemurus paradiseus), makes it- 
self continuously heard and its rich metallic notes are characteristic of 
the forest. It is a glossy black bird with a fine crest, the lateral tail 
feathers are greatly elongated, bare for a certain distance and webbed at 
the end ; hence its English name. In the tops of the trees flocks of the 
fairy Blue Bird (Jre/ki^^i^eWa), one of the most beautiful of all our birds, 
are a feature of the jungle life to about 2,000 feet. At a distance they 
seem plain enough, but if you get a closer view the metallic blue of the 
back and crown of the male contrasting with the black of the other 
parts shows a scheme of colouring that cannot be surpassed. 

Creeping among the leaves the Little White-eyed Tit {Zosterops 
palpebrosa) is a common sight. Its green plumage and the conspicuous 
ring of white round the eye render it easy to recognise. In the winter 
two Rock-thrushes are to be commonly met with, the Blue-headed 
(Petrophila cinclorhtjncha)B.nd the Western Blue \Pctropliila cyanus) , the 
former in forest in the neighbourhood of cultivation, the latter generally 
in open clearings or in grass land where there are rocks. The males are 
handsome birds ; when in their winter plumage the former has a blue 
head, black back, red upper tail coverts and a blue spot in front of the 
shoulder. The latter is bright blue with dark browii wings and tail, the 
female is dull blue throughout with buffy white under plumage each 
feather of which has a black edge. The female of the Blue-headed Rock- 
thrush is quite imlike her husband being brown above and white below, 
thickly barred with dark brown. 

On every path the elegant little Grey Wagtail {Motacilla mclaTwpe) 
may be seen tripping along. It is our earliest visitor and stays the 

Three Woodpeckers frequent the higher elevations, the common 
Oolden-backed three-toed {Tiga javanensis), TickelFs Golden-backed 
{Chrysocolaptes gutficristatus), and the Malabar Great Black Wood- 
pecker (Thriponax hodgsoni). The first of these is common everywhere, 
the second in the neighbourhood of streams, while the third is the common- 
est in open jungle. The peculiarities noted in their names are sufficient to 
discriminate them. The presence of a pair of the great Horn-bill 
{Dichoceros bkoniis) is manifested for some distance. Their hoarse 
croaking roar may be heard for miles and the beating of their wings as 
they fly across a valley attracts one's attention at once. They are not 

I8d Tii avancoke' MaiNual. [Chap. 

TO u^-" "-^ Tn 
abundant nor so common as their relation, the Jungle Grey Horn-bill 
{Lophoccros griseus). These also make their presence known by their 
peculiar cry wliich is like the hiugh of our old friend Mr. Punch, but 
they frequent heavy forest and are not so often seen. 

The " wliish " of the brown-necked Spine-tail {Chxtura indica) is 
a familiar sound as it rushes by at more than double the rate of the fastest 
express. They are more often Jieard than seen, but at times they play, 
and the rate of flight is then moderate. The Indian Edible-nest Swiftlet 
(Collocalia unirolor) is tJic otJier swift that is most common in the hills- 
A very beautiful bird that frequents heavy forests over 2,000 feet is the 
Malabar Trogon. It has a broad black head set on a thick neck, a 
yellowish brown back and a long black tail with chestnut centre feathers. 
The breast is black boixlered by a white band and below this again it is 
pale crimson. The female has the head, neck and upper breast brown^ 
no white band and the under parts are brownish bufif. 

Another beautiful bird is the velvet-fronted Blue Nuthatch. At ele- 
vations of about 2,000 feet and upwards, it may be seen creeping about 
the trunks of trees. As its name describes, it is blue with a dark 
velvety-black band on tlie forehead. 

At about this elevation or perhaps a little higher and up to the 
extreme summits, the Southern Indian Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes ganeesa) 
is very common; it is a dark grey bird with a black head and an 
orange-red beak. Its cheerful notes are a sure sign that you are a long 
way above the sea-level. 

Flocks of the Blue-winged V'dwquet{Paheornis columboid^s) take the 
place of the Blossom-headed as one ascends the hills, and the little Indian 
Loriquet inconspicuous by its small size and green colouring is to be met 

The note of the Brown Hawk-owl (Ninox scutulata) is frequently 
heard at night while by the day the scream of the Crested Serpent-eagle 
{Spilornis checla) as it soars aloft, is equally common. The Black Eagle 
{Ictinatus malaycnsis) may be seen quartering the tops of the trees in 
search of small birds* eggs and young at all seasons while the Kestril and 
the Indian Hobby are winter visitants. 

The whistle of the Grey-fronted Green Pigeon {Os^nwtreron affinU) 
is not uncommonly heard and also the booming note of Jerdon's Imperial 
Pigeon (Dncula cuprea). while the Bronze-winged Dove {Chalcophaps 
indica) may be seen in heavy junglejN feeding on the ground. The Grey 

IV.] Fauna. 188 

Jungle-fowl (Gallm sonnerati) may be met with on jungle paths either 
early in the morning or after sunset. 

On the High Eange the Palni Laughing-thrush {Trochalopterum 
fairbanki) takes the place of T. meridionale. Here too may be found the 
Nilgiri Babbler [Alcippe phceocephala) , a plain brown bird with ashy brown 
forehead and crown that was called by Jerdon the " Neilgherry Quaker 
Thrush," no doubt on accoimt of the want of brilliancy in its plumage. 
In the grass lands the Eed-headed Fantail Warbler (Cisticola crythrocc- 
phala) is fairly common. 

The three Flycatchers that are most abundant at high elevations are 
the Nilgiri Blue Flycatcher {Stoporola albican datci), an indigo blue bird 
with a lighter blue forehead and eyebrow, the Grey-headed Flycatcher 
{Culicicapa ceylonensis) and the Black and Orange Flycatcher (Ochromela 
nigrirufa), whose English names sufficiently describe them for purposes 
of identification. About Peermade and the High Range are found numbers 
of the Southern Pied Bush-chat (Pratincola atrata). They are always in 
pairs, the male is black with white upper tail coverts and a white patch on 
the wing, the female is grey with reddish upper tail coverts and black tail. 
Other birds peculiar to the Higli Range are the common Rose Finch 
{Carpodacus erythrinus) which come there in flocks as winter visitants, 
the White Wagtail (^Motacilla alba) is also to be found there only in 
winter, and the Nilgiri Pipit is a permanent resident in the grass lands. 
Here too is often seen the Malabar Crested Lark {Galerita vialabarica) 
also a permanent resident, and the great Alpine Swift {Cypselus vielba) 
congregates in numbers and hawks for insects through the smoke of the 
grass fires. The commonest Quail is the Painted Bush-quail {Microperdiz 
erythrorhyncha), and of other game birds the Wood-cock and the Wood- 
snipe are sometimes met with in winter. 

To return to the low country : the birds peculiar to the extreme 
south of Travancore are the White-throated Munia {Uroloncha makibarica) 
which is common there, though to my sm'prise I have not met with it 
elsewhere, the smaller White Scavenger Vulture (^Neophron ginginianus), 
the Little Brown Dove {^Turtur cambayensis), the Indian Ring Dove 
(Turfur risorius)^ the Grey Partridge {FramoUfius pondicerianus), and 
the Brown-headed Gull (Larus brunneicephalus). 

The Palm Swift (Tachomis batassiensis) though not confined to the 
south is far more abundant there, and the Uttle Scaly-bellied Green 
Woodpecker (Oecinus striolatus) I liave only obtained near Cape 

184 Travancore Manual. [Chap, 

Reptiles. All the backwaters and most of the larger rivers of Tra- 
vancore are infested with crocodiles and in North Travancore small onei 
may be found even in the tanks, the water of which is used for various 
purposes ; the people take no notice of them until they get fairly large 
(over 4 feet or so) when they either destroy them or force them to 
move away. By far the commonest kind is Crocodilus palustris. In the 
soutli they do not generally exceed 8 feet in length but iu North Tra- 
vancore specimens are said to bo found up to 20 feet. At the mouths of 
the rivers in North Travancore Crocodilus porosus is found. There is one 
specimen iu tlie ^Museum taken at Tannirmukham and there was a skull 
presented by (General Cullen of v/liich he gives the following account : — 

" The animal was killed several years ago in the backwaters between Allep- 
pcy and Cochin at a place called Tannirmiikhani. It had killed several natives 
and on tlie last occasion seized a woman far advanced in pregnancy as she was 
washing:. Sb.e died of the injuiies she received, and the liusband and others 
vowing vengeance iigainst the brute, at last caught and killed it. They brought 
it with another one and left it before me at Cochin. It was about 10 feet long. 
I have records of alligators up tlie river at Cochin near Verapoly of 18 to 22 feet 
in length." 

The sea yields four kinds of turtles, {Chelone imbricata) the one that 
produces the tortoise-sliell of commerce, Chclonc mydas, Thalassochelys 
caretta and the great Leathery Turtle, Dennochelys coriacea. In the 
rivers the fresh-water turtles, Trioiiyx cartilagineus and Pelochelffi 
cantorif may be found. 

In the tanks, the Ceylon Pond-tortoise, Emyda vittata and Nieoria 
trijuja, arc common, while on the hills in the extreme south, the land* 
tortoise (Testudo elegans) may be met with and Testudo platynota through* 
out the range. Among the lizards, the Flying-lizard (Draco dmsumieri^ is 
the most remarkable irs it has a lateral wing-like membrane supported by 
the last five or six ribs which enables it to glide through the air from one 
tree to another in downward flight. It is found at the foot of the hills 
most commonly. In houses numbers of the House Gecko (HemidcuityJm 
leschenaidti) are always to be seen stalking insects on the walls at night« 
The lizard that has been victimised with the name of "Blood-sucker" ifl 
Calotes versicolor. It is very common in the low country while its relation, 
C, ophio7nachus, is equally common in the hills. On the sides of the 
roads in forest on the hills, a fat-bodied lizard, olive brow^n above, with a 
a series of rhomboidal spots along the middle of the back, Sitana pontic 
ceriana, is common at low elevations. While on the High Range SaUa 
anamallayana is abundant. Into houses Mabuia carinata, a brown lizard 
with a li^Oiter band on each side, often fhids its way. It is essentially * 

IV.] Fauna. 136 

8roDnd*lizard and never climbs. The most formidable of the lizard tribe 
iithe monitor called by Europeans "Guana" found in the neighbourhood 
of water both in the low country and in the hills. It has a powerful jaw 
ind can kill rats as well as any terrier and then swallow them whole with 
the greatest ease. Lastly we have the well-known Chameleon (C. calcarattis) 
which is not uncommon about the low country. 

Only two lizards are peculiar to Travancore, Bistella travancorica and 
Lygosoma subccsruleum. 

Snakes are fairly common in Travancore and there are about 67 species 
represented. When one is met with, the first question that is asked is, ** Is 
it a poisonous one*', to this most of the people at once reply in the affirm- 
ative and, needless to say, they are generally wrong. There are only three 
poisonous snakes that are found in the low country and they are easily 
recognisable: — <1) The Cobra(A''am tripndians) whose hood at once proclaims 
it (2) The Eussel's Viper (Vipcra russeUii) whose thick body, broad head 
covered with httle scales, and the chain pattern down the centre of its back 
easily identify it (3) The "Kraif* (Bungarus cccruleus), this is bluish black 
above with narrow transverse white streaks or spots, a scheme of colouring 
which is adopted by a harmless snake {Lycodon aulicus) that is often found 
about houses and is mistaken for the Krait; the Krait, however, can be 
easily discriminated by its blunt head and by the fact that the scales run- 
ning down the centre of the back are enlarged and hexagonal. No other 
poisonous snakes than these arc likely to be seen in the low country. On 
the hills and at their foot the Hamadryad {Naia huyigariis) is found. Here 
again the hood betrays it. Two species of Callophis, (7. nigrescens and 
C. hihronii, may be met with occasionally but so rarely as not to need 
description, and there are three Tree-vipers (Ancistrodon hypnale), 
Trimeresurus anamallensis, and T, macrolepis which are easily recognised 
by their broad flat heads and by the pit just in front of the eye. The bite 
of these last, though painful, in effect is not fatal to man. There are several 
species of Sea-snakes, all of which are poisonous. They arc entirely marine 
and may be distinguished by their compressed oar-like tails. The only 
harmless snake that lives entirely in water is Chersj/drus granulatus 
which is found at the mouths of the rivers and along the coast, its tail 
is not compressed like that of sea-snakes. Among the harmless snakes 
there is a family of burrowing ones, the Urcpcltidro that have truncated 
tails. They feed on earth worms and may be met with on the roads on 
the hills after rain. The people call them **double-headed snakes". Of 
these, two species, Bhinophis travancoriciis and Bhinophis fergusoniamis, 

186 TiTAVANCoiJE Manxtal. [ Chap, 

the latter taken l)y Mr. Sealy on the High llange, are peculiar to 
Travancorc. Kat Snakes {Zameyiis mucosus) are common about the paddy 
fields and most tanks contain specimens of Tropidonctus piscator. The 
commonest Tree-snake is the green one {Dnjophifi mycterizans), while 
Dipsas trigonata is sometimes found in bushes near houses. Snakes of 
this genus are sometimes mistaken for poisonous ones as their heads are 
somewhat flattened and triangular, but their long thin bodies and the 
presence of shields on the head distinguish them from vipers with whioh 
alone they are confounded. One species, Dipsas dightoni, is peculiar to 
Travancore having been taken by Mr. Dighton in Peermade. The largest 
snake found in Travancore is the Python (P. woZwrws). I have seen a 
specimen J 8 feet long and one now in the Public Gardens is 15 feet. It 
is harmless, but the next largest the Hamadryad is deadly. The largest 
specimen I have seen is 13J feet long. It is said to make unprovoked 
attacks on people but though I have met many specimens they have 
always gone off as hard as possible and I have not heard of any one in 
Travancore being molested by this snake. 

Batrachians, which include Frogs, Toads and Ca^cilians are naturally 
abundant in Travancore as there is plenty of water. There are 34 
species of which three, Rafia aurantiaca, Ixalus travancoriem 
and Bufo fergusonii are peculiar to Travancore. The croaking of the 
frogs and toads in the paddy fields as the rains set in is a familiar 
sound at night. In the low country the largest and commonest frog is 
Sana tigrina, a great cannibal, of which large specimens may be caught 
in any tank by using a small one as bait. The commonest toad is B^fo 
melanostictus. Small specimens of this are very partial to taking np their 
abode under the edge of the matting in any room and here they sit and 
croak happily till the lights . are put out when they sally forth to feed. 
Two kinds of *'Chunam frog", Rhacophorus malaharicus and R.maculahUt 
also come imto houses and seat themselves on pictures or in between the 
Venetians or on any other convenient perch and thence make prodigious 
leaps, tlie discs on their dilated toes enabling them to stick even to a 
perpendicular surface. On the liills, liu/o parietalis is found in abundaooe 
and five species of the genus Ixalus may be met with. The Csecilians are 
not so abundant. They are worm-like burrowing Batrachians and are 
usually found in damp situations. There are three kinds found in Travancore, 
Tchthyophis glutinosus, Unfotyphlus oxyurus, and Gegenophis carnosus. 

Fish. Several species of sharks are found along the coast. Of the 
family Carcharida' some of which grow to a considerable size and are 
dangerous, the most curious looking is the Hammer-headed shark {Zygana 

IV.] Fauna. la? 

Hoehfii), which has the front portion of tlie head laterally elongated from 
wlikk it derives its name. "^^ The great Basking-shark (Rhinodon typicus) 
ift aometii&€6 found ; one 27 feet and 1 inch in length was washed ashore 
aiPuRtura (Trifvaiidrum) in 1900. It is quite harmless. Another innoou* 
ooft kam is Stegostoma tigrinum which grows to 15 feet in length but 
fceda mostly on molluscs and crustaceans. Two kinds of Saw-fish, Pristis 
mujpidah$» aaad Printis perotteti, frequent the coast, the beaks of which 
see scHnetimies 5 feet long. In most of the rivers, Mahseer {Barbtistor) 
ace to be found. Shoals of Flying-fish (Exocwtiis micropterus) are 
pcfc iingommonly to be seen winging their way over the waters. The 
fgp&B^ Sword-fish (Histiophorus gladius) may occasionally be seen sunning 
itself on the surface with its great blue dorsal fin fully extended. It is a 
dangerous animal and cases of injury inflicted by it on unfortunate fisher- 
men have been treated in the hospital at Trivandrum. In one of these, 
about nine inches of the sword were taken from the fleshy part of the 
shoulder of one man who while sitting on his catamaran had been wantonly 
ittacked. Another species, H. brevirostris, is also found, one specimen in 
the Museum is 10^ feet long. A curious fish is Echench, which has the 
first dorsal fin modified into an adhesive disc by means of which it clings 
to the bodies of sharks and so profits by the superior powers of locomotion 
of its host in finding food. Goby fish of the genus Periothalmus, 
though only able to breathe by gills, are fond of the land and 
may be seen climbing about the rocks ; when pursued they use their 
tails and ventral fins to leap out of harm's way. The fishermen call 
thein Sea-toads. They are very wary and hard to catch. The Sea-horse 
{Hippocampus guttulatus) is often found about Cape Comorin and 
there are many others of strange shape and varied colour. Of the 
former, Ostrncion turritus having a solid coat of armour composed 
of angular bony plates is a quaint example. So are the fish of the genus 
Tetrodon, sometimes called Sea-porcupines, which are covered with small 
spines. They are able to inflate their bodies with air and float on the water 
upside down, hence they are called Globe-fish. Holocanthus annularis, a 
&^ with a body vertically broad, coloured sienna, with a blue ring on the 
shoulder and six or seven curved blue bands upon the sides, and a yellow 
caudal fin, is an example of the latter, and so are CJuctodon vagabundus, 
Psettus argenteus and Heniochus 7nacrolepidotus, There are many that are 
edible, of which perhaps the best are the Seer-fish of the genus Cybium, 
Bed Mullets of the family Mullidce, Grey Mullets of the family MugilidcB, 
Pomfret of the family Stroniateidce {Strombillidcc !) and Whiting {Sillago 

So far I have descril>ed the animals comprising tlie subkingdom of 

188 Tn\VAX(':>rtr: Mantal. [Chap. 

the vt*rt(:l)rates or as tliey aiv un\y called the C'liordata. Formerly all the 
remaining animals were lumped into one sul;kingdom and called Inverte^ 
brates, but a fuller knowledge has shown that they must be split up into 
eight subkingdoms, each of which is equivalent to the subkingdom of the 
Chordata. They are: — (1) Arthropoda (Insects, Spiders and Crustaceans), 
(2) Echinodermata (Star-fish and Sea-urchins), (3) Mollnsca (Cuttle-fish, 
Oysters ic.), (4) Mnlluscoida (Lamp-shells and Corallines), (5) Vermes 
(Worms. Leeches iVc), (C)) Ca^Ienterata (Jelly-fish, Sea-anemones and 
Corals), (7) Porifera (sponges) and (H) Proto::oa (Single-celled animals). 
Of these I can only speak of the Arthropods, and of them only imperfectly. 
The remaining seven suhkinirdoms have not as yet been worked at all in 
the Museum. 

The Arthropods are divided into seven classes : — 1. Insects, 2. Centi- 
pedes, 3. Millipedes, 4. Scorpions. Spiders, Ticks iSrc, 5. Kingcrabs, 
6. Crustaceans, and 7. Prototracheata. There are no representatives of 
clsses 5 and 7 in Travancoiv. 'J'he remaining classes will be taken in the 
order given. 

Insects are divided into nine Orders: — 1. Hymenoptera (Ants, 
Wasps), 2. Biptera (Flies), 8. Lcpidoptera (Butterflies and Moths), 
4. Coleoptera (Beetles), ;"). Neuroptera (Dragon-flies, \Vhite-ants &c), 
6. Orthoptera (Grasshopp^a-s, Crickets. Mantises), 7. Rhyncota (Bugs), 
8. Thysanopffira (Thrips) and 9. Thysanum (Spiing-tails and Bristle- tails). 

Hymenoptera. The Order Hymenoptera which includes ants, bees, 
wasps, sawflies and Ichneumon-flies has, with the exception of the last 
two, been lately worked out for India. It contains some of the most familiar 
insects, and the habits of souie of them are of particular interest. Those of 
the Fosaors have been very well d. ^scribed by IM. Fabre. 

The young of this tribe are meat-caters and have to be nourished on 
the flesh of other insects, the mother therefore lays up a store of these in 
readiness for the young one as soon as it emerges from the egg, but two 
things are necessary ; flrst, that the stored-up insects should not decompose, 
and s(»condly, that they should not have the powc^r of injuring the tender 
grub which is the fiist form of the i)ei'fect insect. There must be life but 
life only of the interior or;;ans eornhined w^it h absolute immobility oi the 
limbs. This is marvellously insured by the instinctive power the Fossors 
have of stinging thcn'r prey at certain spots w^hich are the seat of the nerve 
centres wliich control the inovements of the limbs and so paralysing them. 
One of the largest of tlie Fossois is Srolia indica. It is a large dark 

IV.] Fauna. I3d 

hairy insect with thick legs. Its colour is black throughout, with the 
exception of some ferruginous red bands on the abdomen, the wings are 
fuscous brown with beautiful purple reflections. Its young lives on the flesh 
of the larvsB of beetles that imdergo their metamorphosis beneath the 
ground. The ScoUa bm-rows until it finds such a larva, stings it and 
renders it incapable of movement, lays an egg on it and leaves the 
egg to mature amid this supply of food. The family Pompilidee may 
be at once recognised by their long hind legs. They have great powers 
of running rapidly over the surface of the ground and while so doing their 
wings are constantly quivering and their antenna' vibrating. Most of 
them dig holes in the ground and lay up a store of spiders for the 
benefit of their young. 

Mdcrojneris violacea is a good example of the family ; it is black with 
beautiful purple and blue reflections, the wings dark brown with brilliant 
purple effulgence changing in different lights. Others of the genus Salius 
i. e., S. flavus and S. consanguineus are- common. 

The family Sphegidcc are rather a mixed lot of varying form. 
Liris aurata is a beautiful insect black with more or less red legs, with 
silvery bands on the abdomen and with a golden gloss on the face. It is 
common about Trivandrum ; it makes its nest-hole in the ground and 
stores it with young crickets. One often finds the back of a book or the 
folds of a paper filled with clay cells containing spiders. This is the work 
of Trypoxyloti pileatum or T. intrudem, both are small black insects 
with very long bodies and transparent wings. **A slender waist, a slim 
shape, an abdomen much compressed at the upper part, and seemingly 
attached to the body by a mere thread, a black robe with a red scarf on 
its under parts " is the very apt description M. Fabre gives of the genus 
Amnwpkila, three species of which are common about Trivandrum. They 
make vertical tunnels in the ground and store them with caterpillars. 

In a corner of the glass pane of a window or on the side of a table or 
chair one often sees what looks like a splash of mud with rays of mud 
branching from it. This is the nest of Sceliphron madraspatanuniy a black 
insect with a long slender yellow waist and yellow and black legs; if the 
nest is opened it vsdll be found to be made up of four or five cells filled 
with spiders. There are three more species of this genus common in Tri- 
vandrimi. The genus Sphex contains some beautiful species, they all 
make bm'rows in the ground and store their nests with various species of 
Orthopterous insects (crickets, grasshoppers &c.). There are seven 
species common about Trivandrum, of which Spliex lobatus is the most 
Btriking as it is a brilliant blue green with transparent wings. 

140 TuAVANcoKE Manual. [Cha?. 

AmpiUcx coftqn'cssa is anothei- very beautiful insect. It is brfflimt 
metallic blue with some deep red on the legs with transpar^it wingB 
slightly clouded. It stores cockroaches. Bemhex is the last genus Of <tae 
Sphegidse I need mention. They are stout black insects with yelloiw 
Lands on the abdomen, their prey consists of flies of different kinds. Tbe^* 
make their burrows in sandy banks and use their legs like a dog in dig- 
fjing them. Unlike the other Fossors, they do not supply a stwe of Sood 
and close the burrow once for all, but return day by day and feed ibe 
young larva until it refuses to take more and settles down into the pupa 
stage towards its final transformation. The next tribe, the DiplopterUy me 
distinguished by having a fold in the wings w^hen in repose; it includes the 
EumenidcF., solidary wasps, and the true or social wasps. Among the former 
are several fan iliar insects of the genus Eumenes, E. petiolata, E. conica^ 
E. flavopicta, all large conspicuous wasps with elongated waists. The 
thorax has usually some yellow about it and the abdomen also. They 
come into houses about August and September and build clay cells whidi 
they store witli caterpillars. Another vei*y (rommon wasp is Rhijnchium 
brunntum, a stout insect brownish red with black bands on the abdomen. It 
comes into houses and builds a clay nest which it stores with caterpillars, 
or makes use of any liollow such as the mouth of an old gun baiTel or the 
hole for a window bolt. Among the social wasps are some of the genus 
Ischnogastei*. They are brown and yellow with a very long waist. They 
build cells of papei-y »tutf moi'e or less hexagonal in shape connected by a 
pedicel but without any exterior envelope. Others again of the genus. ' 
Icaria build from 5 to 48 cells attached by a stout pedicel to twigs. 
Icarm/t'm/{/t/2ea is the commonest species. The great papery nests of 
Vespa cincta arc often to l)e seen imder the eaves of houses or in a bush. 
The insect is black with a broad yellow band on the abdomen. They 
form vast communities and arc very dangei'ous if disturbed. 

The next tribe includes the bees. ^Iie most conspicuous of these ai'e 
the Carpenter-bees, Xj/locopa latipes and Xijlocopa bryorum. The far- 
mer is a large robust hairy insect black all over with dark wings that shi&e 
with brilliant coppery or purple reflections. The latter is yellow in front 
and has a black abdomen and more or less dark wings with a purple dffalg- 
ence. As their name implies, they bore holes in wood in which they make 
their nests. Mcgachilc lanata, one of the leaf-cutting bees, a black insect 
with a good deal of fulvous red hair about it and with narrow transvezse 
white bands on the abdomen, often comes into houses and makes hbb of 
anv hollow space it finds, or the l>ack of a book for its nests which itiotina 
of clay partitions, 

IV.] Fauna. 141 

Anihophora zonata is another familiar insect rufous in front with a 
Msok abdomen on which there ai'e narrow bands of metallic blue hairs 
and wings more or less transparent. They foiTQ burrows and live in 
ftokmies. Then there are the true honey-bees of which there are three 
kinds, Apis indica, dorsata, and Jlorea, and lastly the dammar-bees of the 
^nos Melipona that make their nests in hollows of trees mostly of more 
«r less resinous wax. 

Ants, which form another tribe of the Hymenoptera, are nmnerous, 
there being over sixty species in Travancore. They hve in large commu- 
nities consisting of a queen, a perfect female, of imperfect females which 
may include workers of two kinds and soldiers, and of young, the latter 
coHiprising all these forms and also perfect males. At certain seasons, 
generally after the first showers in April or May, the perfect males and 
females, which are winged, emerge from the nest and rise into the air for 
their nuptial flight ; they couple and the males die while the females cast 
&eir wings and are ready to lay eggs. They are divided into five sub- 
funilies. The first of these, the Camponotide, have no true sting but are 
able to produce iiu acid poison and lo eject it to some distance. The best 
known of all is the ** red ant ", (Ecophylla smaragdina. This forms shelters 
in the leaves of trees oj* bushes by fastening the edges together by a silky 
substance. The mature ants are unable to produce this but the larvae can, 
as they spin a silken cocooji for themselves in which to pupate ; when 
therefore it becomes necessary to form a new shelter, or to mend a dam- 
aged one, some of the matuie workers hold the edges of the leaves close, 
while others carry a larva each in their jaws, apply the mouth of the larva 
to the edge of the leaf and the sticky secretion from it fastens the leaves 
together. The larva are not damaged by this operation but are carefully 
laid by when done with. A small yellow ant, Plagiohpis longipes, which 
has, as its name impHes, very long legs, is very common in houses. Com- 
panies of them may be seen dragging any dead insect up a wall to its nest. 
Prenolepis longicornis is an equally familiar ant but is black ; it has no 
settled home and does not frequent houses so regularly as the last. The 
large black ant that forms vast nests under ground is Canipojwtiis 
compressus. They are regular cattle keepers as they keep herds of cater- 
pillars of certain of the family of the Lycaenid butterflies which includes 
the Blues and Coppers. These have two erectile tentacula near the end 
of the body and close to them is an opening from which exudes a sweet 
liquor that the ants very much appreciate. When an ant wishes to milk 
the caterpillar it gently strokes it with its antenna* and a drop of liquid 
exudes which the ant licks up. Tlic ants regularly attend the caterpillars 

142 Travancoke Manual. [Chap. 

and wheu ihoy are about to pupate cojiduct them to a safe place in which 
to undergo transformation, and do not allow them to stray too far. They 
also attend and Jierd plant-lice or aphides. There are five species of the 
genus found in Travancore. The nests of ants differ very much, but those 
formed by a genus of ants called Polyrachis are peculiar in that they 
consist of a single cavity which is lined with a silky substance. They are 
built on leaves usually. There arc four species known from Travancore* 
The next family of the DoUchocleridcs is a small one, of which the most 
familiar member is a small ant, Tapinoma viclanocephaluvi, with a black 
head that contrasts with the semi-trauspaient abdomen. It has no sting, 
nor i^ower of ejecting fluid to a distance, but it secretes a very strongly 
malodorous fluid from the anal glands which it uses for defence. Among 
the next subfamily are some of the most elaborate nest builders, Cre- 
niastoqastcr ntf/cnho/cri builds a more or less round brown-papery nest 
of vegetable fibre, often eighteen inches long and almost as broad, round a 
branch which it uses as a central support. These nests may be seen com- 
monly on the hills. The ants have a curious habit of turning their ab- 
domens over their backs. There are some species of ants that make roads 
for themselves and the result of their labours may be seen in partial tracks 
and tunnels ^uuning across the paths. Of these the commonest is Solenopsis 
geniiiiatu, m reddish yellow ant. Hokomynne.v. crinireps, a brown ant, 
also has tliis Ir.ibit, both of tbeui store grass seeds in theii* nest but ants 
of the geTuis Pliidolr 'ayo the best known harvesters: round the entrance 
to their nests may b(» sc^^n the husks of the seeds they have stored below 
and to prevent rain penetrating to their galleries they make embankments 
round the nest which eflectually protect them. There are four species in 
Travancore of which P. rhombiiwda is the connnonest. To this family also 
belongs a very small reddish-yellow ant, Monomorinm destructor, that is 
commonly to be met with in houses. 

The next family, tiie Puiirnno^ are hunting ants and are flesh eaters. 
They have a curious wiiy (.f carrying their prey imderneath their bodies 
between the forelegs. There are several genera represented in Travancore 
of which the best known is Lohopdta : long lines of Lobopclta chinepisis 
may be seen going, usually in single file, on foraging expeditions about 
four in the evenin.g. They hunt by night and by eight in the morning 
they retire underground. They hawc a vei-y fairly powerful sting which 
they use freely if disturbed. There Jire also L. dcntilohis, L. dalyi and 
L. occUi/cni which behave in the same way. 

The last family i.^ the Dor/// ides: th<\v lead a noniadic social life not- 
withstanding tlu- fad that the eyesight of the workers is very imperfect. 

IV.] Fafxa. 143 

ft includes the genora Dorylu.<i and CEnirfn.^ : of tlie latter there are four 
species in Travancore. They arc small ants and niarcli three or four 
abreast with great regularity carrying their prey as does Lobopelta. 

Diptera. This Order which includes Mosquitoes, Gnats, Flies and 
Fleas has not had the attention paid to it that it deserves. Since 
however the connection between malaria and mosquitoes has been es- 
tablished, considerable study has been bestowed on the particular family 
the Culicidce, which includes the various species of those insects. 
In Travancore there are at least 4 species of the genus Anopheles, the 
members of which are the intermediate hosts of the Sporozoa which 
give rise to malarial fever. These four species are Anopheles fnliginosus, 
A. janiesiiy A. sinnensis and A. rossii. There are many other 
gpecies of mosquitoes. Among them, Toxorynchites immisericors is 
conspicuous by its size and is known as the Elephant Mosquito. 
Of the genus Culex there are five species. The family Tipulidce con- 
tains the Daddy-longlegs or Crane-flies. There are several species in 
Trivandrum, one of which is conspicuous by its long legs being band- 
ed alternately black and white. The Tahaniche or Horse-flies are 
numerous, one species known as the Elephant Fly is most trouble- 
some on the hills at considerable elevations in the dry weather. 
They can easily bite through thin cloths and can draw blood. The 
use of a folded newspaper is absolutely necessary when seated on 
a cane-bottomed chair. Another species of the genus Pangonia has 
a stiff proboscis, more than half an inch long, which is a formidable 
weapon of offence. The Eobber Flies constituting the family Asiliidie 
are common. The largest is more than an inch long having a 
black body with narrow grey bands, the wings are smoky. It preys 
on other insects but fortunately it does not suck the blood of ver- 
tebrates. Another very curious member of this family is Laphria 
xylocopiformis, a large hairy insect very like one of thci carpenter-bees ; 
hence its name. The flies that one sees commonly hovering over 
flowers belong to the family Syrphuhe or Hover-flies, their food is 
chiefly pollen. The family Muscidm contains the House-flics, Blue- 
bottles &c., which are so common about our dwellings. They lay 
their eggs on dung or any kind of soft damp filth Jind the* larvae- 
feed on this. The so-called flying-tick which infects dogs is really 
a fly of the family Hippoboscidce. liastly we have the Pulicidd or 
Fleas which though wingless constitute the suborder Aphaniptcra of 
the order Diptera. 

Lepidoptera. Series I. Khopaloceka. This order includes the 

144 TRAVANconi: >rANu.\L. [Chap. 

Butterflies and Moths. There iire aboui two Jumdred and thirty speden 
of the former and at least ten times the number of the latter to be met 
with in Travancore. So far as ornament is concerned,, they are the 
highest of the insect world. Insect angels, they have been well tenned 
by Wendell Holmes. In the larval form they are worm-like and ase 
called Caterpillars and in this stage some are often very destructive 
to crops as they are nearly all vegetable feeders. They pass a 
considerable portion of their lives in the pupal state. Many of tlie 
butterflies difl^er according to the season ; there being wet and dry season 
forms, the former being always darker than the latter. The pupa of 
butterflies is also called chrysalis from the fact that some of them are 
partially or entirely of a golden hue ; this is found chiefly in the family 
NymphalidcCj a good example of which is Euplcea core a plain brown 
butterfly whose pupa is like a pear drop of burnished gold. There are 
six families, specimens of all of which are to be found in Travancore 
though one of them, Lemoyiiubv has only two species representing it. 
The family of the IsympliaHchv includes the gi^eatest number and is 
divided into six subfamilies. 

The Euploeina) are characterised by their slow flapping fli^it 
and their fearless behaviour, this is probably due to the fact that 
they possess acid juices which render them unpalatable to birds and 
lizards with the exception of Limmts chn/sippus and Salaintra getmtia^ 
which are bright ferruginous with black markings, the others are 
sombrely clad. The Eiiplceas are mostly brown with some white spots. 
The most remarkable member of the subfamily is Hestia malabariea 
which is to be met with in the hills in dense forest. Whoever has 
seen a number of these floating aimlessly about in a forest grove like 
animated pieces of spotted tissue paper is not hkely to forget the 

The Satyrince are all very soberly clad and have the underside of 
their hind wings marbled or mottled in such a way as to render them 
almost invisible when settled. They have a way too of dropping the front 
wings between the lower ones which adds to the difficulty of seeing them. 
They never take long flights but may be seen on the sides of shady roads 
and in the forest, and many of them frequent grass lands. There are 
twenty one species in Travancore of which two are peculiar to it, Ypthima 
ypthimoidrsy a meadow brown found only in the hills at considerable 
elevations and Parantirrhcea viarslmlli, a dark brown insect with a pale 
violet band on the forewing which is most commonly to be seen in Eetta 
jungle (BcrsJut tra rancor icci) fiom May to October on the Peermade hills. 

IV.] Fauna. 145 

The cftterpillar of Melanith ismene is said in otlier parts of India to do 
damage to the rice plants, but in Travancore there is such an abundance 
of vegetation that it is not driven to rely on them for food. Seasonal 
dimoirphism is well marked in this subfamily so much so that the wet and 
dry aeMon forms of one butterfly have received different names, for example, 
M^iMmiHs leda and Melanitis ismene, Orsotrioena mandata and Orsotrioma 
iHMMbio, Calysisme minetis and Calysisme visala. The next subfamily 
Sh/nmiifUB has only one representative, Elymnias caudata, which is very 
like SaUUura genutia and is therefore said to "mimic" it. The viorphinm 
have two, both of which are very rare, the Acrceince and Telchinia viola^ 
which is very common both in the low country and on the hills. It is red 
with a narrow black border to the forewing and a broader one on the hind 
dx which are some yellow spots. The next subfamily Nymphalina are 
eminently sunshine-loving. They are mostly brightly coloured and have .a 
strong flight, but the habits of some are not so nice as their colouration, for 
the mango butterflies of the genus EuthaUa are fond of rotten fruit and 
those of the genus Charaxes may be attracted by carrion and Charaxes 
fohiiis some times gets drunk on toddy. There are forty-seven species in 
Travancore; of which the largest are Cynthia saloma and Parthenos 
nirens. Cyrestes ihi/odamas, one of the Porcelains, is perhaps the most 
eoriously colom-ed. The leaf butterflies of the genus Kallima, of which 
there are two species, K, philarchus and K, wardi, are so called from the 
fact that the underside of the wings so exactly represents a leaf with the 
mid-rib marked that it is most difficult to discover the insect when it alights 
which it does very suddenly. They are only found in forest on the hills 
and are far from common. Pyrameis carduiy the Painted Lady, is probably 
the most widely distributed of all butterflies as it is found everywhere 
except in the Arctic regions and South America. 

The Family Lertwniida, as I have said before, is only represent* 
ed by two forms, Lybithea viyrra common on the High Kange and 
Abisara prxmosa QOTdiaon on the hills at the sides of roads in jungle. 

The Family Lyca^nidcCy which includes the Blues, Coppers and 
Hairstreaks, is represented by nearly sixty species. The males and fe- 
males are often very differently coloured on the upper side but are mark- 
ed alike below. Some of them are very small, covering not much more 
than half an inch with the wings expanded. Those of the genus Cent- 
aunis, of which there are three species, are the largest, being nearly 
two inches in expanse. They are brilliant metallic blue above, and are un- 
mistakable. Lamjyides elpis, a light blue insect, is about the commonest 
of all the family. Some of them have very long tails, for example, Cheritra 

146 TriAVANTOP.K Maxfal. [Chap. 

jnffra whidi is common at 2,000 foct on tho hills, and Bindahara sugrira 
fairly common in tlic low comitry. The caterpillars of the family are 
very peculiar bein{^ usually short, broad in the middle and naked. As 
pointed out when describing the Hymenoptera, some of them yield a 
fluid of which ants are fond, hence they are domesticated and tended by 
the ants. The tastes of some are peculiar as they feed not, as is usual, on 
vegetable substance but devour aphides and scale insects. The caterpillars 
of the genera Lampides, Virachola and Deudorix, feed on the interior of 
fruits of different kinds. Lampides elpis, for example, bores into carda- 
moms. Dcudorix epijnrbus feasts on the pomegranate, but the most 
curious of all is the caterpillar of Virachola isocrafes which feeds on the 
guava, pomegranate and some other fruits. The mature female insect, 
which is dull purple with a patch of yellow in the forewing, deposits her 
eggs in the cah^ of the flower; the caterpillar when hatched bores into the 
young fruit, where it remains throughout its transfonnation. By the time 
it is ready to change to a pupa it has so damaged the fruit that further 
growth is stopped and the fruit dies, there is therefore the danger that the 
fruit should drop and destroy the larva. This however is prevented by the 
extraordinary instinct of the caterpillar which leads it to emerge from the 
fruit just before pupating. It then spins a strong web over the base of the 
fruit and stem which effectually prevents the falling of the fruit even 
though it should separate from the stem and so it x*eturns to its abiding 
place in the centre of the fruit and pupates in safety. 

The Pieridtjc which form the next family include the Whites, Brim- 
stones, Clouded-yellows and Orange-tips. White yellow and red are the 
predominant colours. There are about twenty-five species in Travancore. 
Terias hecahe, a small yellfnv insect, is about the most abundant in the 
hills and the low country. But tlie large yellowish white butterflies of 
the genus Cafop.sllia of whicli there are three species are almost equally 
common. At tim(?s great migrations of thes(» take place and hundreds 
of them may be seen flying in one* particuljii* direction. 

The PapilionidiC are knr)wn as the swallow-tails and include the 
largest and most conspicuous of all the order. The great Orniihoptera 
jninoa. nine inches in expanse, a black butterfly with yellow on the hind 
wings, is fairly common in the* low country and on the hills. Iliades 
pohpnncntor (black with lavendc r spots on the hind wings) is also fairly 
abtmdant, as is too ]\frnclaidcs Iicctor, black with red spots on the hind 
wings. On the hills, Chanis hrlnuis, black with a cream spot on each 
hind wing, is most conspicuous, while Achillidca tamilana, black having 

rv.] Fauna. 147 

a large metallic spot on each of the hind wings of bhie with gieen reflect- 
ions, is perhaps the most beautiful. The larvae of some, especially of 
Orpheides erithonius do considerable damage to orange trees by feeding 
on the leaves. They rest fully exposed on the upper side of the leaves, 
but are so colom-ed that they resemble birds' droppings. Pattiysa naira 
is a rare buttei-fly pecuhar to Travancore. The members of the last family, 
the HesperiidcCy are called skippers from their peculiar jerky flight. They 
are a very distinct family and closely allied to the moths. There are 
about forty species in Ti-avancore. The largest is Gangara fhi/rsis which 
is common in the low country, its caterpillar which is covered with white 
fluflf is destructive to palms as it feeds on their leaves cutting and i-oUing 
up a leaf to form its habitation. The caterpillai- of Matapa aria behaves 
in the same way tow'ards the leaves of the bamboo, while that of Chapra 
mathias is said to do damage to the rice plant. 

Series II. Hetekocera Moths. — The old divisions of the moths 
'nto five subsections is now more or less abandoned and no larger division 
than that of families is recognised. There are thirty four of these : it will 
not therefore be possible to mention them all, a few examples of the 
most prominent are all that can be cited. 

The family of the Saturniidce or Empcror-moths contains the largest 
individual of all, .4 ^^acw.s a^Zas which is twelve inches in expanse; one 
noticeable feature in this family is the presence of transparent spaces on 
the forewings. This is found in several other species. Actios selcnc, a 
large greenish white moth with long tails, is another beautiful example of 
the family ; it is fairly common both in the hills and plains. The most 
useful member is Antheraa paphia^ the Tussur-silk nioth, which is to be 
found about Trivandrum ; Loepa katinka in the Hills and Cricida trifenea-^ 
trata on the plains also spin cocoons of silk. The family Eupterotidw is 
represented by three rather common insects, i?//^;^ero^.' molli/era, Nisaga 
simplex and Sangatissa subcurvi/era. The scheme of colouring is the 
same in all brown or drab with curved black lines on the forewings. 
Their larvae are hairy and the hairs produce great irritation if the cater- 
pillar is handled. The family of the Sphingidce or Hawk-moths is per- 
haps the most easily recognisable. They have long stout bodies elongated 
narrow pointed forewings and small hind ones. They fly usually by day 
or in the evening. The best known is Acherontia lachesis, the Death*s- 
head moth, so called from the marking on the thorax being like a skull, 
When handled the moth can produce a fairly loud squeak. One of the 
most beautiful is Cahjmnia panopus. Daphnis ncrii, the Oleander Hawk- 
moth, is the most wide spread being found all over liUropc , 8. Africa aui 

l4d Travancoue Manual. [Chai?. 

India. The Humming-bird Hawk-moths of the genus Maeroglossa have 
a very long proboscis and the tip of the abdomen is furnished with a toft 
of dense long scales whicli is capable of expansion. Macroglossa gjfroM 
is common on the hills and M, bengalensis in the low country. Cepha- 
nodes hylas is peculiar in having the wings clear and transparent. The 
larvae are remarkable for their colour and form. They n<?arly always 
have a conspicuous stiflf horn-like tail. In the genus ChterocampuSt of 
which six species may be met witli about Trivandriun, the caterpillar caii 
retract the front segments into the fourth which is capable of expansion 
and makes the caterpillar more or less like a small hooded snake. The 
SesiidiK are a small family of day-flying moths remarkable for having a 
large part of one or both wings clear of scales, hence they are known as 
clear- wings. Sesia flavipcs which is a good example is found only on the 
hills. Another family of semi-diurnal habit are the Syntomidw which 
have the body as well as the wings highly coloured. Many of them are 
like wasps. Eiichromia polymeria, ii very common insect in the plainsi 
. though not a mimetic form, is a good example of the family. The Zygw- 
nidm or Burnet-moths number a good many day-flying insects that are 
very like butterflies. Cydosla australinda, which is not uncommon about 
Trivandrum, might very well be mistaken for one of P/<;r/rfe« or Whites and 
Histia nilgira found on the hills is very like one of the Swallow-tailed 
butterflies, while Hinian fop terns caudatus, a tiny reddish moth with orange 
lined wings with black spots, is a i*egular miniature one. Heterusia 
virescens and Chulcosia affinis are common on the hills. The Psychidm 
are interesting from the fact that their larva cover themselves with 
a case composed of grass sticks, lits of leaves and lined with silk. The 
female remains always in the case and is wingless. The males pass their 
pupa stage in the case but emerge from it as winged insect. Clania 
variegata which is fairly common, foiius its case of small bits of stick. 
The Cossid(C or goat-moths are chiefly interesting from the fact 
that the larvae bore into trees and often do considerable damage. 
Mr. Bourdillon has brought to notice the harm done to teak by the cater- 
pillar of Cossus cadamba, a brown moth about an inch and a half in expanse. 
The family CalUduUda\ which are day-flying moths of medium size, is 
represented by Cleosiris rulamita, a plain brown insect like one of the 
Nymphalid butterflies. The family Limacodidce contains one form 
peculiarly interesting to planters as the larva oiThosea cana, an insignificant 
looking moth, does great damage to tea bushes by feeding on the leaves. 
The Lasiocampidcr, Eggersor Lappet moths, are mostly of large size. 
Sunna concolor^ a somewhat si)hinx-likc mutli having dark red brown 

IV.] Fauna. 140 

wiiig« with a lighter maagin and one or two yellowish spots, is a good ex- 
ample, the caterpillars are hairy with the tufts directed downwards, the 
liftirs causing irritation. The family Hypsidw though small contain some 
Impedes that are very common of which Hypsa alcephron is perhaps the 
mofifc abimdant ; it has hufif forewings with one white spot and yellow hind- 
wings with round black spots. The Arctiidie are a very extensive family 
containing four subfamilies. Those constituting the Certhime are known 
a9 Tiger-moths. They are well represented in Travancore. The cater- 
pillar of Arctia ricini, as its name imphes, is destructive of the castor oil 
plant. The moth has the forewings brown with numerous Hght-ringed 
blackish spots and the hind wing crimson with irregular wavy blackish 
banda. Nycteviera laticinia having brown forewings with a white band 
and white hind wings with a brown bordej- is a very common moth both 
in the hills and plains. Argina cribraria, Deiopeia pulchella and Eligtna 
narcissus are all abundant about Trivandrmn ; of these Deiopeia pulchellay 
about an inch in expanse having white forewings with black and red spots 
ind white hind wings with an irregular black marginal band, is very wide 
qiread being found in Europe, Africa, all over India, the Malay 
Archipelago and Australia. The Noctuidm or Owl-moths form a large 
assemblage of night-flying insects of sombre colours usually marked with 
large eye-like spots. Some of them are of considerable size. Many of the 
caterpillars feed under ground on the roots of plants and are in consequence 
Tery destructive. Nyctipao vvacrops, a dark coloured moth about five 
inches in expanse, often comes into houses in Trivandrum, and two other 
smaller species, N. crepescularis and N. hieroglyphica, sometimes do the 
same. The moths of the genus Ophidercc, unUke them, are brightly 
coloured having green or red brown forewings and yellow hind ones with 
black markings and usually a black lunule. There are four species, Ophi* 
deres ancilla, Ophideres hypermnestra, Ophideres salaminia and Ophideres 
fuUaniea ; the latter is said to have the power of piercing with its proboscis 
and to do damage to crops of oranges by thus inserting it through the peel 
and sucking the juices. The Uraniidce are not a large family but contain 
some conspicuous insects. They are more or less day-flying. Some are 
white with ample wings and light bodies. Two very common species in 
the hills are Strophidia fasciata and Microjiia icculeata; the latter is also 
not uncommon about Trivandrum. 

The Geometridce are a large family of moths of slender build with large 
wings and a narrow elongated body ; they are semi-nocturnal, the larvae 
are called " loopers '* from their mode of progression which consists in 
moving the fore and hind segments alternately the centre of the body 

150 Tkavancouk Manu.\i.. [Chap. 

being raised in a loop. Eumelia rosaliUy a yellow insect with crimson 
specks and a crimson baud across both wings common about the low 
country is a good example. Naxa textilis is white. Euschema percota is 
a day-flying brightly coloured insect blue with purple markings. Its 
caterpillar does great dan>age to the leaves of lilies. Another common 
species is Macaria fasciata, slaty grey with a white band across both 
wings and two orange blotches on the hind-wings. The PyralicUe include 
a large number of small or moderate-sized moths of fragile structure often 
havmg long legs. The genus Gltjphofles is very well represented in Tra- 
vancore, there being five species that lu'c common about Trivandrum. 
Glyphodes cjlauculallH is blue green, G. cehaUs white with some brown 
markings, G. suiuata yellow with some crimson on the forewings, 
G. laticostallH ^^hite with a brown l)and, and G. actorionalis brown with 
diaphanous white bands. They arc all small and more or less insignificant. 
Dichocroci.s piUH'tife.ndi}> is a small straw-coloured moth with black spots 
on both wings common about Trivandrum ; Lepyrodes neptis, yellowish 
brown with black edged white bands, is also very common. 

Coleoptera. The Coleoptera or beetles are well known. Most of 
them arc possessed of a hard exterior, and the front pair of wings, called 
Elytra, are not used lor flight but serve as cases to protect the body. 
They are very numerous and are divided into six series. The first of 
these, t'ne LafneliicorniUy are so called us the terminal joints of the antennae 
are leai'-like. They include the Stag-beetles, Chafers. Dung-beetles and 
Eose-chalers. OdontolabiH rncrra is an example of the first which is 
common on fch<3 hills. Its thorax is black and the wing cases are dull 
yellow with a triangular I.»Iack mark down the middle. The male has the 
mandibles produced at least three (luarters of an inch. The female is 
coloured like the male but the mandibles are not j)roduced into hom-like 
processes. The Scaraicruiw or Chafers are divided into several subfamilies, 
one of the most inreixscin^^ or which is that of the Scarabau whose 
members may be recognised by their habit of rolling about balls of dang 
and earth. One species oi Atcuthus, a black insect is very common about 
Tiivandium. They act as scavengers by breaking up and removing the 
droppings of cattle ;iiid other animals. Another subfamily includes the 
Cockchafers or .Melolonthides. Af/usl rata orichal cea, Vvhi{:h is brilliant 
metallic greenish all over with [)urple reflections, is a good example com- 
mon about Trivandrum. So is Hrfrrorhhia flcf/ans var vyatioptera, a 
dark metallic blue insect also with pur])l(^ reflections. Some of them do 
damage in cnltivalion ;»s for instjuicr Srrint pntinosa which defoliates 
coff'ee Imshes. Ani^her subfamily, the Df/fifisfithr. though small contains 

IV.] FArNA. 151 

some very large insects with curious horns and projcctiuns. Enpatorius 
eantori, 2J inches long reddish brown with roddisli yellow margin hav:ng 
% long recurved horn in front and two others rising fj'om the middle of 
the thorax, is a good example; another is Oryctes rhinoceros, a large black 
or hrown beetle with a minute rhinoceros-like horn in front. It does 
great damage to the palms in the Public Gardens in Trivandrum by boring 
into the stems. The second series, the Adephaga, contains the Tiger- 
beetles, Ground-beetles and Water-beetles; of the first Colly ris insignis is 
a good example. It has no wings and the Elytra are firmly soldered 
together. It has a long rounded thorax somewhat globular in the middle. 
They are very swift on foot and prey on other insects. Cicindella 
sexpunctata is another example which is of use as it preys on tte destruc- 
tive Rice-sapper. Of the Ground-beetles or Carabidce, a species of 
Caiosoma is not uncommon in Trivandrum and a species of Brachinus 
which is able to eject an explosive liquid, also Pterosophus bimaculatus 
dark blue with yellow markings. The Water-beetles or Dytiscidce are 
carnivorous both in the larv^al and in the adult stage. Cyhistcr limbatus 
is a common species in water about Trivandrum, and Hydaticus festivus 
and H, vittatus are also numerous. The former is a gaily coloured insect 
having a yellow or oranfje ground colour with shiny black or dark brown 

The third series, the Polymorpha, is a very large one containing about 
fifty families of which the most interesting are the curious Burying- 
beetles, the Lady-birds, Fire-flies and Glow-worms, Click-beetles and the 
beautifully coloured Buprestidse. The Histeridcc or Burying-beetles are 
very compact insects with a very hard shell, they dig under any carcase 
and so gradually bury it and they were supposed to live on it, but it is now 
ascertained that they are really predaceous and live on the larvao of flies 
which are found in the carcase. There are several species of Hister to be 
found in Trivandrum. The Lady-birds are useful as they prey upon 
plant lice. Epilachyxa innaba, a small red and yellowish beetle with black 
spots, is a not uncommon species in the low country. A nc^arly allied 
family contains those curious insects which have the elytra flattened to 
form a rim under which the legs are hidden. They look like animated 
golden nuggets. Unfortunately when dead the colour fades completely. 
Their identity has yet to be determined. The family Bcs'richidce are 
very injurious as they attack timber. There are several species some of 
which do damage to teak while Bostrichtis (cqualia attacks the cotton tree. 
Bambax malabaricum. A small brown beetle of a closely alhed family, 
the Pfinid^p of the genus Dinoderu,<y damages bamboos by boring into 

152 Travancoke Manital. [Chap. 

them. Another of this family Lasiodcrnia testaceum, a small brown 
beetle with white giubs, is most destructive to cheroots into which the 
larvae bore holes. A species of Glow-worm of the genus Lampyris is not 
uncommon, the female is wingless and luminous. The Fire-flies which 
are so numerous and beautiful at certain seasons belong, I believe, to this 
family of the Mala4:x)dermid^, but their identity has not been made out. 
The chck beetles or Elateridee have the power when lying on their backs 
of jerking themselves into the air at the same time giving a distinct 
click. Agryphmis fuscipes, a brown insect, is common about Trivandrum 
and Alaus speciosiis, a white insect with a curious black irregular line 
down the centre of the thorax and some black spots, is common in the 
hills. The last family I need notice, the BuprestidiB, is a large one and 
contains many insects remarkable for the magnificence of their colour. A 
very common example is Stemocera dasypleura, a reddish brown insect 
having the thorax deeply pitted, and coloured metallic gi-een with golden 
reflections while beneath it is uniform metallic green also with golden 
reflections. BeUonota scutcllaris is another example, it is uniform metal- 
lie golden green, with some violet on the posterior margin and on the 
sides of the thorax. The larva is said to do damage by boring into the 
wood of Acacia catechu. 

Of the fourth series, Heteroinera, the great family TeiiehrionidtB con- 
tains the greater number, they are mostly black ground-beetles. There are 
several species to be found in Trivandrum but they are as yet unidentified. 
The most interesting are the Cantharidce or Meloidm, Bhster-beetles or 
Oil-beetles. One of the commonest is a species of Mylahri^i black with 
red markings on the elytra very common on grass. 

The fifth series, the Phytophaga or plant-eaters, contains among 
other families, the Chrysojuclidre which are as a rule leaf-feedei's and the 
CcramhycidcCy or Longicorns, which are wood and stem feeders. Of the 
former, Corynodea peregruius and Corynodes corulentus are examples as 
also Crioceris imprcssus. The larvae of some species of this genus have 
a peculiar method of protecting themselves. " The anus '*, says Dr. 
Sharpe, "is placed on the upper surface and formed so that the excrement 
when voided is pushed forward on to the insect ; here it is retained by 
means of a slimy matter, and a thick coat entirely covering the creature 
is ultimately formed''. Some of the longicom-beetles are very large. 
One rather common species is quite four inches long dark brown and the 
male has the mandibles produced almost as largely as some of the stag- 
beetles. The name of this species I do not know. The well-known 
coffee-borer Xyhtrechus quadrupes. a slender beetle some three quarters 

IV,] Fauna. 153 

of an inch long belongs to this family. Otlaer examples ave Batocera 
albofasciata, about two inches long reddish brown with white spots and 
beneath dirty brown margined with white. Mecoiagus gnermi {?) about an 
inch long is dull brown with some white lines on the thorax and head 
and white vermiculations on the elytra. Clytus annularis about half an 
inch long is yellowish white with reddish brown markings. Oleocumpus 
helohus rather more than half an inch long is ashy brown with four 
white round marks on the elytra, the first two approximating the sides 
of the head and thorax margined with white. 

The sixth series, the Rhyncophora, contains the Weevils. They can 
be recognised by their having the head more or less prolonged in front 
to form a mouth or beak. Some of them are large, for instance, the 
Palm-weevil, a reddish brown insect some two inches long whose white 
fleshy legless grubs tunnel into the trunks of various palms. Another 
curious insect is Cniptorhynciis mangifera. It is an earth-colourei weevil 
and as a grub hves inside the stone of the mango fruit finr>lly eating its 
way out when full grown. 

Neuroptera. This is the last Order of insects that undergo a 
complete metamorphosis. The mouth organs in the adult are adapted 
for biting and grinding. The wings are membranous and are covered 
with a net- work of veins. It includes the Caddis-flies constituting the 
suborder TricJioptera, and the Scorpion-flies, Lace-wing Flies, Ant 
lions and Mantis-flies constituting the suborder Planipennia. 

The larvae of the Caddis-flies are with few exceptions aquatic and 
construct cases of all sorts of materials. There are several species in 
Travancore but not yet identified. Among the Planipennia there is a 
remarkable insect of the family Sialidce that has large sickle-shaped 
mandibles, it belongs to the genus Corydalis, The MantispidcB or mantis- 
flies are well represented but have not been w^orked out. The Ant-lions 
are well known. The larvao make pit falls to catch crawling insects. 
Wherever there is a dry sandy spot these funnel-shaped pits may be seen 
and at the bottom the larva sits with its sickle-shaped jaws extended 
ready to seize its prey when it falls down the loose sandy sides of the pit. 
The adult Ant-lions are winged insects whose wings when at rest spread 
like a roof over the hinder part of the body. Some have the wings plain, 
others spotted. There is one large species whose wings are marked with 
obliquely transverse brown bands. The expanse is over 4 inches. It 
often finds its way into houses at nigh.t and flutters about against the 
ceiling. When the larva is full-fed it encloses itself in a piore or less 

154 TnAVAXfoRK Mantal. [Chap. 

spherical cocoon inaJ(> of sand yrains fastened together with silken 
threads, the interior of whicli is lined with silk, within this it undergoes 
its metamorphosis. 

Orthoptera. This Order includes the Dragon-flies, May-flies, 
Stone-flies, Termites or White-ants, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Locusts, 
Stick and Leaf-insects, Mantises, Cockroaches and Earwigs. 

None of these undergo a distinct metamorphosis but by the gradua 
succession of changes pass from the larval to the adult stage, the larvae 
are wingless at first, and the wings are developed during the moults, 
being fully formed only at the last moult. The mouth organs are adapted 
for biting. Most of the members of the group are of large size. 

The Dragon-flies {Odonata) Hve entirely upon insects, which they 
capture on the wing. In the larval and pupal stages they Uve in water 
and are equally carnivorous. In both stages there is a peculiar structure 
fixed under the hsad known as ** the mask " which is a jointed weapon 
armed at thj tnl with a pair of toothed processes. It can be protruded 
with great quickness and serves to seize the prey. There are three 
families, the LihellnUdcr, /EscJniidcv. and Agrionidce, In the two first 
th * head is rounded but in the third it is much wider than long, almost 
cylindrical and set on the body like the head of a hammer on its handle. 
Many of th;) tpecies are vory beautiful as their wings often glitter with 
varied iridescence. There are many species in Travancore of all three 
famiUes, but no attempt has yet bncn made to ascertain their specific 

Tho Termites or White-ants (Tcrmitidce) are well known on account 
of their destructive habit?. They live in colonies which consist of a 
queen and king with EO!ne supernumerary individuals which may, by a 
system of diet, be matured into royalties if required, another lot of indi- 
viduals with very large heads and formidable jaws, who may be called 
soldiers and finally the workers, who are by far the most numerous. 
The perfect individuals have compound eyes but the soldiers and workers 
are as a rule eyeless. The mouth parts are formed for biting. Just 
before the rains, when the first showers fall, great swarms of winged 
termites make their way out of the nest. Most of these are destroyed by 
birds or lizards but the survivors may form new colonies. Their food 
consists generally of decaying wood or otlicr vegetable matter. On the 
hills a species may be seen whicli tunnel into the branches of trees and 
mako nests round them. Another s{)ecies seems to live on gi-ass, but so 
far, these, like so many otiiei- ins(*ft^, await identification. 

IV.l Fauna. 155 

Crickets (Gnjllidce) belong to the suborder of true Orthoptera which 
differ from those so far mentioned in having the two pairs of wings un- 
like, the first pair being usually stiff and horny, and serving as covers 
to the hinder pair which are membranous and folded. The chirping noise 
made by crickets is produced by rubbing the base of one wing-cover 
over the other. It may often be heard at night in houses ; it is uttered 
only by the male and is supposed to attract the female. The abdomen 
bears two flexible appendages and the female has in addition a long 
ovipositor. A black insect of the genus Gryllus is common in houses and 
a green one of the genus Calyptotrypus is found in the fields, but the one 
that forces itself most into notice is the mole-cricket, Gryllotalpa vulgarist 
as it flies into the verandah attracted at niglit by the light and flaps about 
in an irresponsible way. It is a large insect and can at once be recog- 
nised by the form of its front legs which are greatly thickened for digging. 
It burrows underground and so destroys the roots of plants. All crickets 
lay their eggs in holes in the ground glued together in masses. 

The long-horned Grasshoppers {Locustidie) are so called because 
they have very long bristle-like antenna*. The true locusts do not belong 
to this family but to the next. They are usually green or brown in colour. 
Like the crickets they produce sound by rubbing the base of one wing- 
cover over the other. The females have a long sabre-shaped ovipositor. 
Mecopoda elojujatUy a large greenish brown insect with very long hind legs 
is a common species. Some have the wing-covers very much enlarged 
and veined like leaves. Onomarchus leuconoius is an example, the wing- 
covers are light green and quite leaf-like. A species of Aprion also has 
green wing-covers but is not so large an insect. Another very curious 
insect is AcantJiodis idulina; its wing-covers are hke lichen-covered 

The Locusts {Acridiida) have short antenna^ and they produce sound 
in a different way to that by which the crickets and grasshoppers produce 
it namely, by rubbing the innerside of the hind legs, which has certain 
bead-hke prominences, against the outer face of the wing-cover in which 
there is a prominent sharp-edged vein. The females have only a short 
ovipositor. In Travancore we are not troubled by swarms of migratory 
locusts but there are several species of locusts to be found. One of the 
largest is Acridium Jiavicornc. The most abundant and widely distributed 
of the migratory locusts is Pachytylus cinerascens wliich may ba found 
throughout the Oriental Region, in Europe ajid even in New Zealand. 
It is common in Travancore but dors not swaiui. Anoth(H- sf eciea cf 

156 TKA\ANtoiiL: MA^uAL. [Chap- 

^hort-horn.'d grabsliopper common about Trivandi-mn is AularcJies 
miliaris. Its thorax is curiously rugose, highly polished and with a 
yellow margin, the wing-covers are bluish green with round sealing-wax- 
like yellow spots and in fact it is highly ornamental. iVnother species, 
(Edalcus marmoratus^ has the wing-covers and the base of the hind wings 
yellow bordered with brown. A very curious looking insect is Acrida 
turrita which has the head very much prolonged into a cone-shape with 
the antennae and eyes near the apex. 

The Leaf and Stick-insects [Phasmichr) are very curious and derive 
their name from tlieir likcne&s to dry sticks and leaves. The wings of 
the stick-insects are rudimentary and their legs very long and ai'c usually 
stretched out unsymmetrically. They are generally to be found amongst 
underwood or on the stems of long grasses. They are vegetable feeders. 
The female lays eggs singly diopping them casually on the ground. Each 
is enclosed in a capsule and they are very like seeds of plants. One 
species over a foot in length is found on the hills. It is, I believe, a species 
cf LoHclwdcs. Wingless species of the genus Bacillus are common about 
Trivandrum. The only leaf-insect found heie is rhylliuni scythe. Its 
body is flat and broad and ihci wing-covers are leaf-like. Its colour is 
more or less green. The legs have bioad leaf-like expansions. It is not 
very common. 

The Prayhig Insects ^^Mantidfc) u^^ually liave the prothorax verj* 
much longcj* than the other tvvo segments of the thorax. The two hinder 
pairs of legs are long and are used for progression but tJie front pair are 
peculiarly formed and are used to seize? their prey, for they are carni- 
vorous, the thighs are strong and are provided with two rows of spines 
and the shanks arc also furnished witli two rows of spines and can be 
folded back on the thighs, ^^'hen at rest tliese joints are thus kept folded 
as if the insect were at prayer, lu^nce their name. They lay eggs in 
masses which are attached to plants and ai'e surj'ounded by a parchment^ 
like capsule. The commom^st form is (lonrji/lus gonyyloides. Another 
species very like Harjxix occUafa of Africa has e*yo-like marks on the 
wing-covers. There are many s[)ecies and they often come into the 
verandah at night attracted by the light. 

Cockroaches {lilattidcr) are veiy common. Their legs are eminently 
fitted for runnijig and they can move very fiuickly. They have strong 
horny jaws well fitted for biting. Tliey generally have two pairs of wings, 
the front pair being stiff and horny, wliiU^ ih(^. Iiinder pair are niore mem- 
branous. TJie ordinary ]ar;jr Im'wx that infests houses is VcripUmcta 

rV.] Fauna. I6t 

americafia. Periplancta decorata is a smaller insect having some brown 
markings. Leucophaca surhmniemis is another common insect about 
Trivandrum. On the hills a rather ornamental form is found, Corydia 
petiveriatia. The under wings and sides of the body are yellow and the 
upper side of the front wings are black with cream-coloured marks. The 
eggs are laid in a capsule formed in the interior of the females. The 
capsule is a honiy case wliich is carried about for sometime by the mother 
protruding from the hinder part of the body. Eventually it is laid in 
some suitable locality and the young make their way out. Earwigs 
{Forficulidxe) can be at once recognised by the fact that they bear at the 
end of the body a pair of forceps or callipers. Many are wingless but in 
those forms that possess wings they are folded in a complicated way. 
They are not common and so far none have been identified in Travancore, 
though there are several species. The females lay eggs and are said to 
watch over them with great care. 

Bhynchota. This Order also called Hemiptera includes the Bugs 
tad is well represented in Travancore. It is divided into two suborders, 
Hemiptera heteroptera and Hemiptera Iwmoptera. Few however have 
given attention to the order and only lately has any attempt been made 
to work it out in India. The insects constituting it may be readily recog- 
nised by the possession of a long proboscis wliich is usually bent under 
the body. Some are vegetable feeders and some carnivorous. Many of 
them are brilUantly coloured. In the family Pentatomidcc or Shield-bugs, 
which is one of the largest and most important, there are several such, 
Seutellera nobilis is metaUic bluish green or purplish with indigo blue 
spots and bars. It is a common insect about the low country. Chryso- 
coris stokerus, also common, is bluish green with black spot and Cata- 
canthtcs bicarnatus is reddish yellow with black spots. The best known 
members of the family, however, is the green bug Nezara viriduUi on ac- 
count of its evil scent. Most bugs possess the power of emitting an unpleas- 
ant odom* but the green bug seems to exercise it more particularly. Some are 
injurious to plants as the well-known Eicc-sapper, Leptocorisa acuta, which 
destroys young paddy, also those of the genus Helopeltis which are most 
destructive to the tea plants. On the other hand Aspongopxis nigriventis 
18 of use in effecting the pollination of the Sago palm. Some bugs feed ex- 
clusively on other insects, especially those of the family Redtiviidcv of which 
GunorJnniis rubrofasciatas and Eiiagoras plagiatus, common insects 
about Trivandrum, are examples. Unlike the other land-bugs they have 
no smell. When writing of carnivorous bugs mention must be made of 
the common Bed-bug, Cimcx kctularms, which is unfortunately too well 

188 Travancore Manual. [Chaf. 

knowu throughout the world. The water-bugs, hke the Beduwidai 
innocent of smell. A species of JVaz^com which swims about on its back 
is very common, also one of Hydronietra. These fly well and at night 
are often attracted by the lights to enter houses. A species of Belostonuh 
a huge brown insect over three inches long, is sometimes attracted in this 
way. Water-scorpions of the genus Nepa are also common ; their fore- 
legs are specially modified to serve as prehensile organs and they have a 
long slender siphon behind. Of the suborder Heimptera Iwmoptera^ 
Cicadas are most in evidence. One does not meet with them in the low coun- 
try but from the foot oC the hills to the summits their voices are to be heard 
at times in a chorus which is almost deafening. The males alone possess 
the power of emitting .sound, hence a Greek poet has written ** Happy the 
Cicadas* lives, for they all have voiceless wives". There are several 
species in Travancore but they have not yet been indentified. The Lant- 
ern flies ol the family Fulgorida have a horn-like extension of the top 
of the head which was supposed to be luminous, hence their name. The 
species common on the hills here is Fulgora delesserti. Its forewings 
are brown with yellow spots and the hind are blue with the apical area 
dark brown. The genus Flatta is represented by F. acutipemis and 
F. tunicata, their forewings are green and the hind are white. The 
family Mernbracida' have the j^rothorax prolonged backwards into a hood 
or into other strange forms. There are several curious examples to be seen 
about the low country, of wliicli Ccntrotijpis ttexiwsus is about the com- 
monest. TJie frothy masses seen at times hanging to branches of trees 
or bushes ar-j the work of the larva' of the I'rog-hoppers or Cercopidfc 
of which tliere are many species. Others of this family secrete fluid so 
abundantly as to make it appear to drop like rain from the trees in which 
they are. The Plant-lice or Aplmhr are another family of this sub- 
order and, though small, are irom their enormous numbers most injnrioos 
to trees and plants. There are many species in Travancore. The Scale- 
insects or Mealy-bugs of the family Cocruhc are also very injurioas but 
on the other hand some produce useful sul.)stances, as for instance white 
wax is formed by a liijcaniid, Ccroplaates ccriferus and lac is the shelly 
covering of Carteria luccuj unfortunately neither of these species occurs 
in Travancore but only the injurious forms of which there are many. 

Thysanoptera and Thysanura. The insects comprising the first 
of these Orders are all very small and feed upon the juices of flowers and 
sometimes do great injury iis thuv are ofien found in large numbers. The 
most familiar II n^miiiMs oi' the 'riiijsainirf/ ;nr the little silver-rtsh which 
may ah\ay> be found aiiKnij: i)}i}H'rs or hcuik^ tliat, bavc \Hcn allowed to lie 

IV.] Fauna. 159 

tor any length of time undistiu'bed. They do damage to books by feeding 
on the paste used in binding them and they also eat old paper. 

Myriapoda. This group includes the Millipedes and Centipedes. 
The former are distinguished by their slow movements and are exclusively 
vegetable feeders. They have no weapons of offence but are able to secrete 
a strong smelhng hquid. Their bodies are more or less cylindrical. They 
include the Pill-milhpedes Onisconwrpha and the worm-hke MiUipedes or 
Helminthomorpha. The former are not quite so much in evidence 
as the latter, but one species which I believe to be Artkrosphcera 
inermis is fairly common. There are several species of the latter of which 
Spirostreptus malabriciLs is the commonest ; it is a long black millipede 
about ten inches to a foot in length and is found abundantly both in the 
hills and on the plains : the liquid it secretes smells strongly of iodine and 
leaves a brown stain on the hands. A species of Trachyiuhis each segment 
of which carries from 11 to 18 warty spines, is also common on the hills. 
Another, a species of Leptodesmus, brown with yellow lateral hne is com- 
mon on the low country ; it is about 2 inches long. The Centipedes are 
more or less soft and flat-bodied, they are active and sw^ift and live for 
the most part in dark places under stones, logs of woods &c., they prey 
upon insects or worms which they kill by means of their large poison 
claws or maxillipedes. One of the most peculiar is Scutigera longicornis ; 
it is about an inch and a half long with a small body and about 15 pairs of 
long legs so arranged as to give it on oval shape. Unlike most it enjoys 
sunlight and may be seen in its native haunts darting about and catching 
insects regardless of the blazing sun. It is common about Trivandrum. 
Of the ScolopendridcCj Rhysida longipes and Scolopendra morsitans are the 
commonest. They live on cockroaches, beetles, worms, &c., and are 
frequently found about houses. The Geophilidm are long worm-hke 
centipedes wuth from thirty-nine to over one hundred segments ; they are 
subterranean in their habits and feed almost entirely on earth worms. 
Medstocephalus punctiferiis is the commonest species. 

AraclmicLa. This class includes the Scorpions, Spiders, Mites &c. 
Of the former so far as six species have been identified in Travancore of 
which one Chiromachetes fergusoni is peculiar to it. The great black 
scorpions of the genus Palamyiceus are to be found under stones. P. scaher 
is about four inches long and has the hands and vesicle tinged with red. 
Lychas tricar inatus, a brownish yellow scorpion about two inches long, is 
often found in houses especially about the bath-rooms. 

The Whip-scorpions or Pedipalpi resemble the true scorpions but may 

160 THAVAN<oin: Manual. [Chap. 

be recognised by the fact that the abdomen is sharply marked off from the 
cephalothorax by a constriction. They are divided into a tailed group 
Uropygi and a tailless AmhUpygl The former have a movable tail cor- 
responding to the sting of the scorpions. They live in damp places under 
stones or in crevices of wood or rock. There are two species of Uropygi 
identified, Telyphonus indicus and Thelyphomiis sepiaris subspecies 
muricolay about an inch and a half long and with a tail rather more than an 
inch. It is black above with red legs. There are some smaller species 
which have not yet been identified. Of the Amplipygi the only species 
yet found is Phrynichus phipsoni ; the body is much flattened and kidney- 
shaped, the abdomen oval. The body is about an inch and a quarter long 
and black. All the legs are long especially the first pair which are like 
antennao. Except for the long prehensile chela, it is outwardly like a 
spider. The true spiders or yl?-rt;ie^ are well represented. Of the larger 
species some twenty have been identified but there are many more as yet 
unnamed. Of the named ones six have not been found elsewhere, but this 
is probably due to the fact that very little attention has been paid to this 
order. The six species peculiar to Travancore are Sason arniatoris and 
Sasonichus sulUvani, Ground-living burrowing spiders, Poecilotheria 
rufilata, a large hairy red spider obscurely mottled, total length of body 
two inches legs about three, which lives in trees ; there is another species 
P. striatay grey with dark stripes not quite so large. They hunt by night 
and feed on beetles, cockroaches. &c. Psechrus alticeps, about three 
quarters of an inch long with slender legs about two inches which spins a 
large web, is found in the hills and in the plains. It is yellowish brown 
variegated with black. Feccnia travancorica, au allied species has been 
found at Madatora. Pandrrcetes celatus, a hunting spider, coloured 
grey and mottled with brown so as to match the lichen-covered bark of 
trees is the last of the spiders peculiar to Travancore. Of the others those 
most frequently met with are Nephila ynaculata and Nephila malabarensis. 
The former is about an inch and a quarter long with long strong legs. It 
has the thorax black, the abdomen olive brown with yellow lines and spots. 
The latter is less than an inch long, the thorax is black with yellow hairs 
on it, the abdomen greyish brown mottled darker. They spin webs 
composed of radiating and concentric threads. That of Nephila inaculata 
is often found across bridle paths in forest on the hills, and the 
threads are very elastic and strong and appear to be covered 
with some glutinous substance as they stick if one comes in contact with 
the web. Some spiders of the genus Gasterocantha are curiously shaped. 
G. gcmiymta has the abdomen twice as broad as long, with paired spines 
sticking out on each side and behind, it is yellow with two transverse black 

IV.] Fauna. 161 

stripes. Of the hunting spiders, Peucetia viridana is common on the hills. 
It is about half an inch long more or less green all over and lives amongst 
grass and other plants where it seeks its prey. In houses Heteropoda 
venaioria is very common. It is a greyish brown spider about three quar- 
ters of an inch or more long with legs about twice this length and 
moves sideways running very quickly. Of the Acari or Mites, I cail 
say little, a species of velvety mite of the genus Trombidium about half 
an inch long, looking as if it were covered with plush, is found at Udaya- 
giri, but probably the commonest is the microscopic itch-mite, Sarcoptes 
scabiei, which tunnels under the skin of man where it lays eggs which 
hatch and the young then start burrowing also. Ticks of the genus Ixodes 
are very common on cattle and in fact they attack all land vertebrates 
including snakes and lizards. They are common in grass lands, 

Crustacea. The Crustaceans comprise a large assemblage present- 
ing great diversity of structure. They are divided into two subclasses, 
the Malacostraca, and Eiitomostraca. The former comprises, among 
others, the famihar Crabs, Lobsters and Cray-fish, the latter the Barna- 
cles and the tiny water-fleas. The Crabs form the short-tailed group 
of the order Drcapoda and the Lobsters and Cray-fishes are members of 
the long tailed division. Both are well represented in Travancore, and 
so far some 30 species have been identified. The crabs are divided into 
five tribes, representatives of three of which have so far been found ; the 
first of these, the CijdoDietopa, are distinguished by having rounded fore- 
heads. Most of the commoner species are included in this tribe. The 
field-crab, Tlielphum kschenaidti, which is so abundant, is an example. 
Some of the sea-crabs belonging to this tribe are very large, for example 
Scylla scrrata, dull greenish blue and Charybdis crucifera, which is also 
conspicuous by its colour, purplish red with creamy white markings suf- 
fused with hghter purple, one of them forming a more or less conspicuous 
cross. The edible crabs, Neptunus sayiguinolentus, reddish yellow with 
bright reddish round marking and Neptunus pelagicusy oliwe grQ^n v^'iiYx 
orange markings, belong to this tribe, as also Cardiosoma caimifex, a dark 
reddish brown crab having the appendages covered with hairs. It is 
found on the margins of lakes. The second tribe Catometopa has the 
frontal region of the carapace broad and square and bent downwards. The 
crabs which are so commonly seen on the sands belong to this tribe, they 
have very long eye-stalks and apparently see remarkably well. They 
are gregarious and each one forms a burrow for itself ; they run very 
swiftly and are by no means easy to catch ; two species, Ocypoda platy- 
tarsus and Ocypoda, cardmana, have been identified. Nearly alhed to 

162 TitAVAXcoUK ^^AxrAL. [Cha?. 

them are the curious Calling-cmbs, Gclafiisinusi annulipes, found on the 
shores of the backwaters. The male has one pincer enormously developed 
and it brandishes this as if it were beckonin^^ hence the name of call- 
ing-crab has been given to it. This claw is highly coloured and Major 
Alcock has suggested that the males wave it to attract the females. 
Another example is Grajysus grapsm which is bright reddish brown and 
possesses long and powerful legs which enable it to dart about the rocks 
very quickly and its flattened carapace enables it to find • shelter in 
amongst the crevices. It is fairly common at Cape Comorin. 

The third tribe, the Oxiirhynca, is unrepresented so far in the Museum 

The fourth tribe, the Oxystomata, or shai-p-nosed crabs have the 
carapace produced in front into a short beak-like prominence. They 
vary in habit; for instance, a species of Matuta found in the beach at 
Trivandrum, a pale olive-coloured creature having a roughened carapace 
with two prominent lateral prolongations forming spines, is an active 
swimmer. Calappa lophos, on the other hand, leads a sluggish life on 
the floor of the sea. It is found at Tiruvallam and Puvar. It has a 
strongly convex carapace with the sides produced into shelf-like plates 
covering the legs, and the pincers are enlarged and compressed, so that 
when folded they form a covering to the face and so give it complete 
protection. Leucosia cmniolaris, another example of this tribe, is re- 
markable for the porcolain-like appearance and textin-e of its pale bluish 
carapace. It is found on the Trivandnmi beacli. 

The remaining tribe, the Anomrda, is so far without a representative 
in the cell 3ct ion. 

Therv^, are several species of Hermit-cmbs, which, having the integu- 
ment of the abdomen soft, use empty shells of the Mollusca to protect 
themselves. None of these have been identified as yet- The Lobsters, 
Prawns and Shrimps are numerous. Palinurus dasypus is perhaps the 
commonest ; it is a large lobster reaching a length of over a foot. The 
cephalo-thorax is olive green with dull reddish yellow markings, the 
abdominal rings are finely spotted with orange. It has long antenn® and 
the cephalo-thorax is thickly covered with spiny tubercles and there is a 
large spine over each eyo. Panvsirus fasciatus, another lobster, has 
even longer antennfe ; it is a bluis:h green with orange transverse lines 
a little above the posterior margins of the somites. A specimen 9 inches 
long has the antonnnn 2 feet 4 inches in length. It is found among rocks. 

IV.] Fauna. 168 

Thenus orientalis, albo tound on rocky shores, is reddish brown and the 
head appendages are curiously produced into leaf-like processes. 

Shrimps and prawns are common ; a species of Palcenwn grows to 
nine inches in length and is commonly sold in the market. In the back- 
waters a very large prawn, Palcevion carcinus, is found. The cephalo- 
thorax and the anterior portions of the somites are light purplish green 
followed by deep blue with orange spots on the sides and tail. Its length 
is 12 inches and the pincers are 19 inches. 

The order Sioifuxpoda is represented by a species of Mantis-shrimp 
(Squilla) which makes burrows in the sand. They have a very short 
carapace and their seizing limbs are not chelate, but toothed, like the 
forelimbs of a mantis, hence their name. The Isopoda are represented by 
Hippa asiatica, pale bluish ashy, which lives in the sands also by 
Sphteroma whose convex body is capable of being rolled into a ball ; they 
live under stones. The fish-lice, some of which attain a length of 2 inches, 
also belong to this group. On laud the wood-Uce represent it ; there are 
several species to be found, but they are as yet unidentified. 

The Kntofmstraca are well represented. A species of Lepas is 
common and so is Balanm Httuiahuliim, one of the Acorn Barnacles. Of 
the i-emaining subkingdoms, the Echinoderms, Molluscs, Wonns, and 
Coelenterates, I can say nothing, as ic has not been possible hitherto to 
collect them systematically and to ascertain liow far they arc represented 
in Travancore. 


'* And, when 1 am forj^otteii, as I bbaU'bc, 
And sleep in dull cold marble, whore no mention 
Of mc more must be heard of, say, I taught thee« 
Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory, 
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour. 
Found thcc a way, out of his wreck, to rise in. " 


The prehistoric archaeological remains are mostly natural or artificial 
caves used by primitive men as dwelling places or for other purposes. 
Numbers of such caves have been recently discovered all over Southern 
India. But in Travancore owing to the paucity of archaeological researches 
in which only a beginning has been made, no definite information is 
available. Kude stone pillars, probably menhirs, indicating burial places 
and small cup-like stone hollows just large enough to hold a human body, 
have been discovered in parts of North Travancore. When the Yaiiala 
tunnel was bored, rude natural and artificial hollows were discovered here 
and there containing old pots, human skeletons and the hke. These re- 
mains no doubt indicate that the tracts in wliich they were found were 
inhabited by the same race of men that constructed the * Pandn Kuliea ' 
of the adjoining British tracts. The absence of any implements ordinarily 
associated with such burial places probably indicate their great antiquity ; 
but the exact nature of the civilisation and the period at which such 
caves were constructed have not yet been ascertained. 

Sepulchral m-ns have also been found in North and South Travan- 
core ; one large pot discovered in one of the caves showed signs of rude 
ornamental work, thus testifying to some advance in civilisation. At 
Ilanji, near Court allam on the borders of Travancore, on opening an urn 
some traces of the shape of a human skeleton were discovered by Dr. Fry, 
a former Besidency Surgeon in Travancore. Who the people were who 
buried their dead in these urns is a problem yet unsolved. Dr. Caldwell, 
who saw personally some irnas both in the Tinnevelly and Madura Dis- 
tricts and in North and South Travancore, i. e., on both sides of the West- 
em Ghauts, is of opinion that " the unknown people must have lived in 

villages. They were also a comparatively civilised people what 

seems to be most probable is that they were the ancestors of the people 
now living in the neighbourhood. "* 

" * Judinu Antiquarj'. Vol. VI. Pu-c 280. 

GoAP. v.] Abch^oloqy. 186 

The area within which these traces are found would, if accurately de- 
termined, throw considerable light on early history and civilisation, but 
this has not been done yet. No provision exists at present for making ex* 
cavations, which is the chief method of discovering prehistoric remains ; 
other im^x)ved appUances are also wanting to help the work. Little is 
therefore known definitely of the remains of the period usually termed pre- 
historic. A start will have to be made in this direction. 

Regarding the historic period, however, more definite, though still far 
from satisfactorily utilised, information is available and this will be here 
dealt with imder the following heads : — 

1. Architecture. 

2. Sculpture. 
8. Coins. 

4. Inscriptions. 

5. Forts and military works. 

6. Tombs and monuments. 

Architecture. The Dravidian style of building is the most pre- 
valent, especially in South Travancore where examples of the indigenous 
style are not commonly met with. The northern limit of the Dravidian 
style is Trivandrum. This is probably due to the easy accessibility of the 
southern parts to the outside world and the intimate connection that has 
existed between them and the adjoining districts of Madura, Tinnevelly, 
Coimbatore &c., where the Dravidian races flourished and constructed 
some of their best architectural works. Some of the southern Taluqs 
were for a time under the sway of the Pandyan and other Kings and 
were wrested from their hands by the Rajahs of Travancore. 

There are also a few remains of Jaina and Buddhistic architecture. 
The temples at Chitaral near Kuzhittura in the Vilavankod Taluq, and 
Madavur Parai in Kalakuttam, Trivandrum Taluq, are stated to be of 
Buddhistic origin. But examples of these styles are rare and have not 
been properly studied. 

Besides these foreign styles, there is also an indigenous style. The 
temples and other buildings constructed in this style lack both the costliness 
and grandem- of the Dravidian structures, but they are neat and simple with 
provision for admitting plenty of light and fresh air, and in these respects 
are undoubtedly superior to the costly edifices of the Dravidian style. The 
indigenous style is peculiar to Malabar and indeed the like of it is not 
known to exist anywhere else in India. The chief characteristic of this 

166 Travancorb Manual. [Chap. 

style is that wood enters largely iu its construction. This style recars* 
with all its peculiarities, in Nepal and Tibet and the resemblance be- 
tween the two is so strong that from this fact, among others, Sir James 
Fergusson argues that '* it cannot be doubted that an intimate connection 
once existed between Nepal and Tibet on the one side and Malabar coast 
on the other ", though it has not yet been possible to ascertain when. The 
large employment of wood in the place of stone is, according to Mr. Fergus- 
son, the chief peculiarity of the Jaina temple architecture and he would 
set down the style prevalent in Malabar, Nepal and Tibet, to the in- 
fluence of Jaina example. But more definite and reliable evidence should 
be sought before laying it down finally that the Malabar style is a copy of 
the Jaina temple architectiure. The large employment of wood is 
sufficiently accounted for by the abundant supply of building timber 
available in the forests of Malabar ; the same conditions exist in the 
Himalayan valleys of Nepal and Tibet. The indigenous style combining 
with it the advantages of neatness, health and ventilation, fulfils the func- 
tion of true architecture, which, according to Buskin, is the art " which so 
disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man, for whatsoever uses that 
the sight of them may contribute io his mental health, power and 
pleasure*'. The peculiarities of the Dravidian and Malabar styles of 
architecture are dealt with at length elsewhere. The great temple of 
Sri Padmanabliaswiiuii in Trivandrum is one of the best specimens of the 
Dravidian style of architectuie in Travancore. In my Report on the 
Census of Travancore (1891), I described it thus : - 

** This lemple stands in the most elevated part of a vast plain about 20 
square miles in extent. The site itself is only a few feet alx)ve the sea-level. 
The area covered by the temple enclosure is 570 x 510, or 290,700 squai-e feet, 
equal to about 7 acres. Tlie temple faces the east, and the view on that side 
through the large fort gate and along line of bazaars with paddy fields and cocoa- 
nut topes behind them is most channinfr. A handsome flight of stone-steps . o;i 
the eastern side shows the f^fentle eminence of the temple site, the first portion of 
which is covered by a bujcff* gopuram or tower, pyramidal in sluipc* and built 
of granite stone and brick. Tliis tower is about L(X) feet in height, and has 
seven stories with window-like* openings in the centre of each of them. These 
openings, as well as the face of the tower, are lighted eveiy evening, the illumin- 
ation being visible at a great distance. Tbe stone basement of the tower is 
covered with elaborate sculpturing, and the masonry aixjve with omamental work 
of Hindu figures. On the top are jscven gold steeples or turrets known as Sicanui' 
.4iipiH in the vernacular. Tliese arc seen at an inmiense distance from the town. 
Underneath the gopuram is the main gateway leading to the temple, well pro- 
tected by a number of massive doors all guarded day and night by faithful 
sentries. The gopuram and the lofty temple walls were in the olden times not 
merely an ornamental appendage to the pagoda, but a stronghold of the temple 
jewels and the king's treasure, and under the simpler system of warfare and wea- 
pons then known, they ylel<.l<Ml sm ^'floctujil prf)tection from foes. Between the 

VO Abch^ology, 167 

gateway and the inner shrine, or holy of holies, there is a fine broad open cor* 
ridor in the form of an oblong, supported by 324 stone pillars and covered with a 
terraced roof. This is a most beautiful and useful structure. It is called the 
Seevcdimaritapoinf meaning the walk of the god's procession. On one side it is 
450 feet long, on the shorter side 350 feet. It is 25 feet broad. The two rows 
of granite pillars and the stone ceiling above have been made the receptacle of 
the talents of the sculptor's chisel. Every stone pillar has the figure of a Nair 
girl bearing a lamp in the palm of her hands joined together and raised above 
her waists. The niche of the lamp will hold four ounces of oil, and this quantity 
will keep the light burning for four hours of the night. The top of the pillar is 
surmounted by the head of a unicorn, in the mouth of which rolls a ball of stone 
in the manner of a Chinese puzzle. On each side of the pillar is suspended a 
pretty brass lamp at a height of ten feet from the floor. Between the pillars are 
also placed rows of iron lamps, Uke butties fixed to pieces of planks pressed in 
between the stone pillars, also of the same height as the hanging brass lamps. 
When all these are hghted, as well as the numerous rows of cocoanut oil lamps on 
the outside walls of the inner shrine to which I shall presently refer, the efifect 
on the visitor is most dazzling. The reader ^vill not have seen anything like it in 
any other part of India. It is impossible to describe in words what beggars 
the imagination. This SeevaUhntnfapom is also used as the dining hall 
on important occasions, and I counted so many as 2,500 leaves on one 
occasion, showing that so many people could sit down there simult- 
aneously to breakfast. I do not think the wealthiest Duke or Marquis in 
Great Britain can ask so many guests to dinner at a time. And this, 
I believe, is a spectacle unrivalled in any part of the world. At the four 
points of this oblong corridor, but not connected with it, stand four stone- 
mantapoms or raised platforms, from which the women and children witness the 
god's procession during the important festivals in the temple, when the Seevali- 
mantapom and the courtyard are fully crammed with people. These are called 
Uneluimantnpoms, On ordinary days, these are used for the reading of the Pura- 
nas or the Chakkiyar's entertainment or the Fatakam recital. Sometimes Vedic 
scholars from distant parts of India here announce themselves to the sovereign, 
by reciting some of the hymns of the Veda. On the south of the southern tSvcca- 
Unmntapom is a house dedicated to the performance of the chief State ceremonies. 
North of the oblong is the cooking apartments of the feeding house attached 
to the temple, commensurate in size and area to the needs of the thousands daily 
fed on important occasions. Here you have hearths of the height of a full-grown 
man, and spacious enough to hold tons of firewood at a time, large hell-metal 
caldrons, the hollow of which can contain condiments to feed 5,000 people at a 
meal, and so deep that a boy can swim in it if filled with water, large canoes 
made of wood capable of holding several hundred pots of curries or buttermilk, 
altogether presenting the appearance in every respect of Brobdingnagian anange- 
ments. Everything here is on a stupendous scale. Beyond this magnificent 
corridor or covered walk is the great fiagstafi:* of gold or the DhwajtuUmbhom. 
the emblem of victory, a sine qua WfH to every Hindu temple, considered so by 
the immemorial usage of Hindus and by their sacred books. The staff itself is a 
fine teak log 80 feet in length without a flaw,* and shaped circular, tapering to- 
wards the top. This log is covered with a series of copper-plate rings from the 
the foot upwards, and surmounted on the top by a massive pewter image of 
Garuda said to l3e the god's rahanom or favourite riding animal. The copper 
plates and the image are gilded thickly on the outside with fine gold in a fashion 
peculiar to the native artisans of Travancore. The gold used is of a very superi- 
or touch, which is beaten into thin plates of the thickness of ordinary paper, 
then cut into small pieces and ground down on a stone with sand and quicksilver 
into a fine pasty substance. This pasty substance is laid on the copper rings. 

168 Travaxcokk Manual. [Chap. 

themselves highly pohshed, and well nibbed into them. The quicksilver disap- 
pears in the subsequent heating over the fire. I his process is repeated seven 
times or more according to the quantity of gold available, when the rings assuine 
a very pretty colour. This is the gildhig process in vogue here. During the 
ooknvam or seasons of festival a flag of silk is hoisted high on the staff; the pro*. 
cesses of hoisting and lowering are accompanied by long and detailed ceremonies 
in eveiy temple. South of the flagstaff and connected with the ' Seevalimanta- 
pom ' roof, is the famous * Kulasekhara mantapom, * sometimes called * Ayirakkal 
mantapom \ This place is entirely a work of the sculptor's art. The best 
specimens of carving in stone of old Travancore are preserved here. The 
former Maharajahs imponed several families of talented masons and carpen- 
ters and artisans from all pails of India, and gave them special privi- 
leges and patronised them. The descendants of these families are still living 
in Travancore. I have not the patience to write here a full description of the 
excellent specimens of stone- work as displayed in the 'Kulasekhara mantapom.' 
It is enough to say that the obdurate granite has been made to ))end and mould 
in obedience to the artist's chisel in very remarkable and imlikely wave. 
Between the flagstaff and the temple door is the *Velikkapurai\ in which uao 
specimens of stone workmanship know^n to native sculpture are profusely shown 
in the huge piliai^s and the ceiling above. Before the Hindu enters the temple 
door, he bows respectfully from the big BnUiiet'to.ii directly in front of the God 
in the inner shrine. A long pathway underneath a magnificent upstair hall is 
passed before the Jcjuimtmic.itnni is reached, from which a flight of steps leads you 
down to the yard of the inner shrine, also beautifully paved with fine slabs of 
granite stone, the intarstices between being well closed by a solution of tin. 
Another flight of stone-steps takes you up to the fi'ont of the inner shrine. No 
worshipper is allowed to enter the shrine itself. Only the specially privileged 
priests can enter. Even * Sankaracharyar' the *Loka-Guru' has certain res- 
trictions placed on him in his pooja to the God. This shrine is a small roomwiib 
three doors, and tlie votaries worship at all 'hree of them. All the standmg room 
for the worshipp{jrR is afforded by one large slab of stone •' measuring 20 feet by 
25 feet and 4 feet high, brought thither according to people's belief not by human 
hands, but with the help of the local deity himself, and the simple folk still 
point to the deep ditch in the neighbouring mountains from which this hugQ 
stono was quamed. I should not omit to mention that on this side of the 
Jepnmanfaporn as well as of the inner shrine there are two open yards also 
nicely paved with granite stones. It is scarcely necessary to inform the Hindu 
reader that the inner shrine, the single-stone mantapom, the open yards, the 
Jt'pamanfaiurm and all therealx)uts are kept most scrupulously neat and sweet 
by perfumes, and cleaning and washing continually going on for several hours of 
the day. Outside the inner shrine, but within the enclosure itself, there are 
other small shrines, dedicated to Krishna, Kshetrapala, Sastha, Narasimha, Vyasa^ 
Siva, Ganesa, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, Gainida, &c. These are the 
minor deities, the chief deity being a favourite form of Vishnu or the Protector 
of the world. On the hind walls of the chief shrine are scenically represented 
in water colours the whole of the Puranas including such minute and compli- 
cated details as the wars of Bama and Bavana, the Pandavas and Kurus, the 
marriage of Sita, the * leelas * of Krisha, and such like, too numerous to mention. 
The devout worshipper passes by looking at them reverentially, and toucliing his 
eyes with the fingers consecrated by the touch of the holy walls on which these 
scenes are painted. There are tw^o or three wells within the sacred precincts in 
addition to a largo fine tank outside the temple itself. A collar underneath the 
shrine secures the temple jewels, and a massive offertoiy made of wood, covered 

Tliis is known as tho ' Ottakal mantopom ' 

v.] ARCHiEOLOGY. 160 

with copper-platos, receives the daily offerings in cash of the worshippers. Half 
an hour's perambulation m the temple is to the pious Hindu a supremely happy 
portion of his existence." 

Sculpture. The sculpture of Travancore is necessarily limited to 
the temples and ianes of the Hindu religion, as the Mahomedan religion 
forbids representations either of men or animals in their buildings. The 
ara^ptures to be found in Travancore may be divided into three classes, 

(a) Indigenous, 

(b) Buddhistic and Jaina and 

(c) Bxaiiminical, 

according to the religious belief which occasioned them. 

The Indigenous sculptures consist of * Naga-kals * or serpent 
figures, *Veera-kals' or figures of heroes and representations of village god- 
desses, demons &c. The serpent figures are most common in Travancore 
tfid the 'Kavu' or abode of serpents, where images of serpents are set up 
and worshipped, is to be invariably seen in the garden of every Nayar 
house. The * Veera-kals' are also to be largely met with here, most of them 
being the representations of Parasurama, the Brahmin hero and the 
reputed foimder of Kerala, to whom however only a few temples are 
dedicated. Images of village gods and goddesses, demons &c, are also not 
uncommon, as idol worship in one form or other is the cult of the lower 

The Buddhistic sculpture consists of bas-reliefs and detached 
statues. A few of these are to be found here and there in Travancore. 
There is an image of Buddha standing on the roadside between Maveli- 
kara and Kandiyur. In the Museum at Trivandrum are a few images 
distinctly Buddhistic in appearance. 

The Jaina sculptures are for the most part restricted to a represent- 
ation of their twenty-four hierarchs or Thirtankaras with their symbols. 
These are very rare in Travancore. Some of them are to be hardly dis- 
tinguished from Buddhistic images so much so that a few which are con- 
sidered Buddhistic are not infrequently styled Jaina images. The figure 
popularly known as Karuinadi Kuttan in the canal near Karumadi is said 
to be of Jaina origin, while some put it down as a Buddhistic image. In 
the central compartment of the rock-cut hall in the Bhagavati temple on 
the summit of Chitaral neai- Kuzhittura is a figure which " would appear 
to be a Jaina image as it is said to be * quite naked *. It is in sitting posture 
on an elevated stone plinth and has three umbrellas over its head. There is 

170 Travancore Manual. ^Chap, 

another in the southern compartment. On the rock-fa<!e on the north of 
the temple are thirty-two figures, repetitions of the images in the pagoda. 
I takQ these also to be of Jaina origin *'*. 

The Brahminical sculptures are countless. Hindu religion and 
mythology afford inexhaustible subjects for sculptural representation and 
ornamentation. A detailed account and a few examples of the Hindu sculp- 
tures found in Travancore are given under the head of "Sculpture" in the 
chapter "Arts and Industries". 

Coins. A. Indigenous. — The history of Travancore coins mounts 
up to remote antiquity. Sir Walter EUiot, the eminent numismatist, is of 
opinion that the Travancore mint " is the only Hindu tankasala still main- 
tained in its original form ". A close examination of the old records relat- 
ing to coinage should have disclosed very interesting and valuable inform- 
ation about the early history of Travancore, but the records in the mint 
were destroyed by an accidental fire and hence the difficulty of procuring 
information regarding the ancient coins of Travancore. 

Gold Coins. Parasurama, the founder of Kerala, after crowning 
Bhanu Vikrama as its king, is stated to have minted gold coins called Hnsi 
and made them over to the king for circulation as the currency of the 
country. Tradition says that Parasurama sowed the Easi coins broadcast 
and buried some in cairns, which are seen here and there on the Travan- 
core mountains. ** On the high ranges there are three Parasurama cairns, 

where the mountain tribes still keep lamps burning one much 

dilapidated was called * Rasi hill of Parasurama*. Along the western coast 
the approaches to fords over large rivers... are especially prolific of them 
(Rasi coins); after heavy bursts of the monsoon people often regularly re- 
sort to and minutely scrutinise the tracts leading to the fords '*+, 

According to the beUef of the people, Rasi is the oldest coin in Kerala. 
The specimens sent to Sir W. Elliot were found to weigh (five and eight- 
tenths) 5 i"o grains each, " with an obhterated form on the obverse, prob- 
ably a Shanka ". Though seldom seen in circulation, the Rasi was till very 
recently the denomination used in North Travancore for the valuation 
of lands. 

The coin next in point of age was the Kaliyuga Rajan or Kaliyuga 
liai/an Panam, As its name implies, it was probably issued by the 

• SewelTa List of Antiquities, Madras. Vol. 1. Fag^ 258. 

* Mr. Walhouso in tho Indian Antiquarj', Vol. Ill, Page 191. 

v.] Archaeology. 171 

sovereign who reigned in the beginning of the Kaliyuga. It has a faint 
resemblance to the Easi coin. According to Sir W. Elliot it was at one 
time current over the whole of Kerala. Inscriptions and Sasanams show 
that it was current in the 3rd century A. d. 

Ananta Bay an Panam and Ananta Varahan were two gold coins 
issued subsequently. Ananta is the appellation of God Sri Padmanabha, 
the tutelary deity of the Travancore Koyal family, and the coins derive their 
name from this Deity. Their values were Es. 0-4-7 and Es. 3-15-5 (British 
currency) respectively. The precise dates of their issue are not ascertain- 
able as there have been many subsequent issues of the same coin. A large 
number of Ananta Eayan Panams full and half, and Ananta Varahans were 
coined during the reign of Eama Varma the Great (1758-1798 a. d.). 

Besides these, special gold coins were minted during the performance of 
the important ceremony known as " Tulabharam " which the Travancore 
Maharajahs celebrate once in their life-time. On these occasions the body 
of the king is weighed against an equal weight of gold coins, which are 
then distributed among the learned Brahmins. The gold, after purifica- 
tion, is coined in different sizes and weights. Originally these coins were 
circular pieces of gold with letters " Sri Padmanabha " in Malayalam on 
the obverse, the reverse being blank. But those coined in later times 
contained the letters within a floral wreath while on the reverse was the 
sankha or conch-shell (the State emblematic device of Travancore) encircled 
by a wreath. The coins struck in 1869 A. D. were of four denominations 
weighing approximately 78*65, 39*32, 19*66, and 9*83 grains respectively. 
The old Venetian Sequins were also used for Pagoda offerings and to meet 
the difficulty of securing them in large nmnbers, Dewan Ramiengar 
suggested the coinage of token gold coins which were not to be part of the 
currency. But instead of being modelled after the sequins, the new token 
coins were minted of two sizes, one equal to the English Sovereign in weight 
and purity and the other to the English Half-sovereign. 1,000 full and 
2,000 half Sovereigns were accordingly minted in the Britisli Indian mint 
at Bombay in 1882 a. d. 

In 1052 M. E. (1877 a. d.) two gold coins called Travancore Vara* 
ham and Half VaraJians were struck and declared legal tender by state 
legislation. The obverse contained the inscriptions " E. V. " (the initials 
of the Maharajah) and the words " Travancore Yarabau " or *' Half 
Varahan'', as the case may be, in Malayalam, with the years of issue 
both English and Malayalam; the reverse contained a sankha nnd a flag. 

172 Travancore Manual. [Chaj. 

The two coins weighed 78 i^o and 39 -j^ grains and their values were 7} Rs. 
and 3J Es. respectively. But the new currency failed in its object as 
there was hardly any circulation, and was discontinued. 

Gold Chuckrams are stated to have been minted at one time * but 
nothing is now known of these coins and no specimens are to be found. 

Silver Coins. Silver Chuckrams were issued from the earliest period 
and they were stated to have been current even in the Pandyan kingdom. 
This by repute is the earliest silver coin of Travancore. 

Later coinages were of three different sizes : — 

Double chuckram weight 11-^ grains. 

Single chuckram , , 6 -^ , , 

Small or Chinna chuckram , , 2 yo » » 

The exact date of their coinage is not known but all accounts agree in 
assigning to them a period of more than 200 years. In the year 985 M. K. 
(1809 A. D.), Double and Half chuckrams were coined by the order of the 
then Dewan Oomminy Tampi and it is said that their coinage was im- 
mediately afterwards discontinued. From some specimens now available, 
it is found that on the obverse of the double chuckram was a sankha or 
f^hell and on the reverse was the chuckram^ resembling what is called a 
Solomon's seal with the inscription ** Padmanabha " in Malayalam. The 
impression on the chuckram represents on the obverse a head ornament 
of Siva, a curved line representing the moon with a star above it. The 
moon appears also on the reverse with the twelve signs of the Zodiac above, 
marked by dots and an car of corn below. The representation is of course 
primitive and rude. The Chinna-chuckram resembled the chuckram in 
all respects and it was perhaps the smallest silver coin in the world. 

In 1035 M. E. (1800 A. D. ) a new silver coin of the value of 4 
chucki-ams and known as the Fanam was introduced. These coins were 
minted in Trivandruni with the aid of stamping presses got down from 

In 1065 M. E. (1889) Quarter Rupees and Half Rupees equal in value to 
7 and 14 cliuckrams respectively were coined, and by a Koyal Proclamation 
dated 31st October 1889 they were declared part of the currency of the 
State. These coins bore the device of the sankha and the name of the coin 
i 1 Malayalam on one side and the inscription ** Rama Vanna-Travancore " 
with the year and name of the coin in English on the other side. It WM 

Vi(l»» Sliiinpr<x>nii> Mi'iioirn llintcry of Traviincorr V»)xv 8U. 

v.] Archeology. 178 

also then iinder contemplation to issue full Rupees valued 28 chuckrams 
or 7 fanams each, but the idea was given up subsequently. The Travancore 
Rupee by which the Sircar accounts are calculated is only an imaginary 

In 1076 M. E. (1900 a. d.) when the silver chuckrams were discon- 
tinued, an improved silver coin of the value of 2 chuckrams was minted in- 
stead and declared part of the currency of the State. 

Copper Coins. The coin known as Kasu or Cash is the earliest copper 
coin minted in Travancore. It is valued ^ 11,^^6 of a British Rupee and is 
undoubtedly the smallest copper coin in the world. It was first minted in 
991 M. E. (1816 A. D.). The cash issued in 1006 m, k. bore a different 
stamp, which was again changed in the coinage of copper cash luade in 
1014 M. E. The dies &c. are not preserved and it is not possible to 
ascertain what the early copper cashes were like, as specimens are not to 
be found. But later issues resembled the silver chuckram with its rude 
and primitive device. 

In 1024 M. E. (1848 A. D.), three varieties of copper coins were minted 

viz : — 

cash iV of a chuckram 

double cash— J do. 

four-cash coins— J do. 

On the obverse of all these was the figm*e of Krishna and on the reverse the 
chuckram. The double cash contained in addition the numeral "'T' in 
Malayalam below the figure of Baushna. In the four-cash piece the 
numeral " 2 " was replaced by " 4 ** also in Malayalam, and there were 
two floral sprigs in addition. The last two coins were however subse- 
quently given up. 

In 1076 M. E. (1900 a. d.), owing to the facilities which silver coins 
of the value of one chuckram afforded for counterfeiting, it was resolved to 
discontinue the minting thereof and the Government issued instead copper 
coins of the value of one, half and quarter chuckrams for the convenience 
of the public. At the same time an improved copper cash was also struck 
with the inscription *«<» <»>o^' (one cash) on one side and the sankha 
in an ornamented circle on the other side. These coins form the present 
copper currency of the state. 

Zinc Coins. In 988 m. e. (1812 a. d.) zinc coins of the value of 
one cash were issued from the Travancore mint. This was the first *cash ' 
coined but it was soon replaced by copper coinag(\ Specimens of the zinc 

174 Tkavancore Makltal. [Chap. 

cash are not avilable. It is not therefore possible to give any description 
of the coin. 

B. f'oKEioN COINS. A large number of foreign coins appear to have 
been current in early times and numbers of them have been subsequently 
imearthed in different parts of the State. 

Eakia' BiTDDHiSTic. — The earliest of such coins were the punch-mark- 
ed coins current at the time of Buddha. So late as January 1900 A. D., 306 
old silver and 2 old copper coins were found in an old earthen vessel in a 
cutting near Angamali Station on the Shoranore-Cochin Railway. They 
were sent to Mr. Edgar Thurston of the Madras Government Museum 
and he identified them as the punch-marked coins referred to above, "which 
are found all over India from Kabul to Cape Comorin". According to Sir 
A. Cunningham, " they were certainly current in the time of Buddha i. e,, 
in the 5th century \i. c. But I have no difficulty in thinking that they 
might mount to as high as 1,000 b. c." ' 

European. The extensive commercial relations that had existed in 
early times between the Malabar coast and the maritime nations of the 
west introduced a large number of European coins into the country. Of 
the European nations the Romans were the first to come in contact 
with t)ie west coast and accordingly a large number of their coins of dates 
ranging froui 30 J3. c. to 547 A. D. have been found in several parts of Tra- 
vancore. Mr. Cunningham asserts that these coins were current in South- 
ern India in the early years of the Christian era. 

The Venetian Sequins popularly known as Shanar Ka^it are also to 
b(i met with in large numbers and arc in great demand for jewehy. They 
appear to have been current in the State once. Until lately the seqtuns 
found in the country were purchased by the Govermuent and distributed 
to learned Brahmins durin;^ the temple offerings. 

SorTH Indian. Portions of the country now included in the State 
of Travancore were at vaiious times under the sway of the foreign powers 
viz.. the l^ellalas, Kadambas, Chalukyas, Cholas, Pandyas, Mahomedan 
rulers (who overran the Pandyan territory), the Zamorin of Calicut and 
the Rajah of Cochin. 

The coins of all these powers were current in the tracts under their 
n^spective sway and when the several parts were conquered and consolidated 

* f'oins f.f>iii. \m\m from tlir "nHirs; iii,i«- totlir Ttli'-nturv ( ISJIO. Pii.Cf W. 

v.] AftcH/t:oLOGY. 176 

into the kingdom of Travancore, there were large numbers of foreign 
coins in circulation. Specimens of several of these foreign coins are to be 
found in His Highness the Maharajah's Palace at the Capital. The follow- 
ing names of the coins in the Palace collection are sufficiently expressive 
and clearly indicate the source or authority to which they own their origin. 

Sultan Varahan. 

Sultan cash. 

Kumbakonam Varahan. 

Tharangambady Varahan. 

Parangy Varahan. 

Calicut Fanam. 

Ramnad Chuti Panam. 

Madura Velli Panam. 

Cochin Put hen. 

Ceylon. There are evidences of an inthuate connection, commercial 
and even political, between Ceylon and the south of India — not excluding 
Travancore — in early times. This is fully borne out by the occurrence of 
Ceylon coins in several parts of South India, Madura, Tinnevelly &c. Even 
in Travancore they are found though only rarely. The Elavas, Tiyas 
and some of the Shanars in Travancore are asserted to have come from 
the north of Ceylon. From a South Travancore inscription dated 98 M. E. 
(922 A. D.), it is found that Ceylon gold coins were once current in that 
part of the country. 

Inscriptions. For some years past, an attempt has been made to 
collect and decipher inscriptions found in temples, mantapams, forts, palaces 
and isolated landmarks all over Travancore. No regular department has 
been organised, but the late Mr. P. Sundaram Pillay m. a., f. ji. h. s., a 
very talented Professor of His Highness the Maharajah's College, Tri van- 
drum, was appointed Honorary Archaeologist and a small staff was 
given him to start the researches. His Field Assistant, Mr. T. S. 
Ganesa Pillay, still continues to do some work, but since the Pro- 
fessor's untimely death seven years ago, the work has made but little 
progress. As archaeological work is of an extremely important nature 
and Travancore abounds with material of that kind for constructing 
authentic history , it behoves His Highness' Government to organise a 
regular establishment and work it on more methodical lines. There must 
be a large number of inscriptions and plates available for research all over 
the country. Whatever work has been done by Professor Sundaram Pillay 
and Ganesa Pillay up to date is here presented to the general reader 
in a brief compass, 


Travancohe Manual. 


The following statements disclose some interesting particnlai*8 riegarcU 
ing the nature of Travancore inscriptions : — 

(1) Inscriptions arranged according to their age. 


Anterior to the Malayalam era. 
1st centm*y of the Malayalam era 











Date uot ascertained yet 





(2) Inscriptions arranged according to the Taluqs in 
which they occur. 












Y.] Archeology, 

(3) losQcipticins acrangod according to their character. 




Vattezhuttu ... 




Old ajainU 


Modem Tamil ... 










Tamil) and Malayalam 






(4) Inscriptions arranged according to their language. 














Travancoue Manual. 


The following statements disclose some intei'esting particnlars regjBoA- 
ing the nature of Travancore inscriptions : — 

(1) Inscriptions arranged according to their age. 



Anterior to the Malayalam era. 


1st centui-y of the Malayalam era ... 



..' 11 


..! 9 


..1 46 


..1 28 


..; 20 


..i 66 


..i 72 


..! 48 




..i 35 

Date not ascertained yet 

..1 22 



i '' 




(2) Inscriptions arranged according to the Taluqs in 

which they occur. 



1 Agastisvaram 






Neyyattinkara .. 











12 ; 


.1 8 ' 




Y.] Archeology, 

(3) losQciptions'acrangQd according to their character. 




Vattezhuttu ... 




Old %mil 


Modem Tamil ... 










Tamiltand Mali^yalam 







(4) Inscriptions arranged according to their language. 













Travancore Manual. 


(5) Inscriptions arranged according to the materials on 
which they are inscribed. 




Temples and other bmldings 

















(6) Inscriptions arranged according to their subject-matter. 


Gifts for construction of Temples 
„ consecration of temples and images 
„ special pujahs and offerings 
„ to Bralunms for their feeding &c. 

„ EalmatamSy water-sheds and other 

Charter of privileges 

Writs (Neet) 


Edicts (Sasanam) 

Orders of appointment 





• •• 




• • • 




•. • 


.. • 


• * • 


• • • 





(7) Inscriptions classified according to the donors. 







. Sovereigns • 







Members of Boyal families 

Foreign ... 




Chieftains - 










Private Individuals 







(8) Inscriptions classified according to the donees. 


Hindu Temples 

Jaina Temples 

Christian Churches 


Service holders 

Kalmatams and water-sheds for the public 

Inferior castes 
I Agricultural ryots 
! Christians 













wo Travancobb Makual. [Cha*. 

It will be fleen from the statemeHtsigiveii abcrvethat the Talaq of AgMt- 
isvaram in South Travancore claims the largest number of inscriptions. The 
reasons for this are not far to seek. The Pandyan Empire extended up to 
the Taluq of Tovala. The victorious Pandya or Chola always wished to 
commemorate his successes in the conquered territories more than in hit 
own. Eottar was for a long time the most important city in Venad 
and its capture was therefore more important for the enemy than the 
possession of several miles of land outside. The country east of Eottir 
was known in the olden days as " Purattayanad " or the country outdda 
Venad. Another reason is probably the existence of important Hinda 
shrines in this Taluq. Suchindram, the divine court of justice in the ddeo 
days, has nearly 100 inscriptions and Gape Comorin has more than 60. 
The expression ' Suchindram Satyam ' is still remembered and acted -apoa 
by the more orthodox, though its 'ghee-ordeal' is now a thing of the part. 
The persons condemned on oath at this temple 'had generally to undergo 
a course of expiatory ceremonies, part of which was the making of some 
gift to the temple. Most of the inscriptions in this temple record such small 
gifts as atonement for various sins. The other three Taluqs viz., Totdft, 
Kalkulam and Eraniel, contain a smaller number of temples and were 
apparently not considered as very valnable possessions by the invaders. 
Tovala was for a long time either forest or waste land with a sparse popa« 
lation. Ealkulam was called Tadappanad' indicating the jungly nature of 
the gardens of which it was composed. Eraniel was known as ' Eurunad % 
showing the small revenue realised therefrom. 

Begarding the character of the inscriptions, it is only the Vattezhutta, 
Eolezhuttu and Old Tamil that call for any remarks as their use ceaeefl 
long ago while the other characters are still current. 

Vattezhxjtttj. Vattezhuthu is the oldest in Malabar and the 
earliest Yattezhuttu inscription known to scholars is the one on ihe 
pillar in front of the Napier Museum at Trivandrum. (Vide Plate A. 
herewith annexed). It is in the well-known Chcra-Pandya charaoters 
with the exception of the first letter 'Sri' which is in Glrantha. All 
the letters of this inscription are more arrow-headed than round and lure 
peculiarly ornamented and every consonant has a dot on the top according 
to the rules of ancient Tamil Grammar texts — Tolkappiyam and Naanul. 
The language of the inscription is the old classical Tamil, and contains 
certain words which have gone out of use at the present day, such as 

¥.| AaCBMOhOQY. isi 

The date of the inscription has been mentioned as the twenty-seventh 
year of the reign of Sri Eo-Maran Ghadayan, and Professor Sondaram 
Fillay roughly estimated its age to be at least a thousand years. It re- 
cords the death of a Malabar Chief at Vizhinjam. 

The characters of the inscriptions of Ko-Baja Eajakesari Varman 
alias the great Baja Baja I on the rock at Periyakulam, Eraniel Talug 
(Vide Plate B.) are also in Vattezhuttu character, but the letters are slightly 
different from those of the preceding one and less ornamental. 

EoLEZHUtTTU. The Eolezhuttu is only a variety of the Vattezhuttu. 
Kolezhuttu inscriptions are to be seen in Central and North Travancore 
and it appears from the epigraphical records that Eolezhuttu was in use 
m Tnwancore from the commencement of the sixth to the tenth century 
of the Malabar era. It is also known as Malayazhma and until the 
beginning of the last century this character was in use for '' all grants, 
patents, decrees and in general all papers that can be considered records 
of Government ". 

The inscription in the temple of Manambur in the Taluq of Chirayin- 
kil ( Vide Plate C. ) contains five lines of well-preserved characters. 

There is another inscription in the same character but of an earlier 
date in the temple of Chengavanadu. It contains two lines of Eolezhuttu 
characters intermingled with Grantha letters. (Vide Plate D. ) 

Old Tamil. Old Tamil was the Court character of the Cholas and 
all the old Tamil inscriptions found in Travancore are due to their influ- 
ence, as is evidenced by the fact that no inscriptions in old Tamil are met 
with to the north of Vizhinjam which marked the limit of Chola conquest in 
Ttevancore territory. They are mostly to be found in the Taluqs of Agast- 
isvaram, Tovala, Eraniel and only a few in Ealkulam. Old Tamil 
appears to have been current in those parts from the second to the eighth 
century of the Malabar era. The inscription dated the 154th day in the 
fourth year of the reign of the Chola king, Parakesari Varman alias 
Bajendra Deva, on the walls of the inner temple of the goddess Bhagavati 
at Cape Comorin (Vide Plate E.), may be taken as a type of this character. 

188 Tkavancoke Manual. [Chat. 

Plate A. Text (in current Tamil). 

fj^Q air iLir /Dear ^iPnL^(up(S(f^u^(Sfl(fiirLLirmr(Bl Q^jrunr^ir U€giL^ 
€9(t£^<i^ iLf^fi^i^ eQuQtfiis me(nsriQsirtL<ssiL. ^ifiuuwAreujr Qu 
(7i^u^ir6snif,a^errsirLiiS^(^6tr ^jr&ssfSir^i^iLfLb ^u^lria^fi^Ui n^^ff^iL 

uQuQj^t^jirfi^'^i ^'^tl7'U(r^/6^QSs99r j^^Qjr^i^tr/u us\)Qj'ir(SliKf(^<ifiuutL 

Plate A. {English Translation). 

In the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Sri Eo-Maran Chadayan, 
when the forces of the Cheraman were besieging Vizhinjam intent on the 
demolition of Karaikkottai, two loyal warriors of the garrison guarding the 
fortress viz., Kanakirti and Amarkkali, who were devotedly attached to 
their Lord Perumanadigal (master) defended it to the last. In the heaTy 
fight which ensued, the loyal warrior Banakirti (the famous in battle) 
succeeded in making havoc in the enemies' ranks but was himself slain 1^ 
Perumurti of Eoluvurkuttam, who came up with large reinforeemente. 

A- Text (in VatUluUM^ 
3 Cf" 1 °V C? « S i V2^ 2,45 u 

o.^Vt^^i^^V Ova/ 

4. s i* :»> ^-^i^-^^ -^ \i> 

B— Text (in Vatteluttu.) 

3<31b "V^ ^""^ <^ ^-2^ 
4 cxj) era '^A ^ ^ <3 "bA***^ 

'^ <ri <^ oj ^\j^ '<^ o/^ ^^^ 

B— Text ( Conthvued^ 

^'X>^v "ir^ c^ cr^ % ^J g 
v<3 "^ <y^ ^ '^J ^ <^o -2^ 

c^ o<^ c-^O '2^ '^'K^^^^ 

X>a^ ^ <i Co co -2,0 '^r? ^'^ 

C\ ^Z^ <^ "OO ^<-N 'tJs "t>^ <7^o 

*^ <3 Q-^co ct/^ xjt -o 

i5. <3 "O o< o< o«e^ <rLr^-x Xc-0 
'^5 OJ^'^-> 'O <4^3 

ft>-Tezi ( Continued, j 

ifi. '^ xj -vo xj ^/^•^ '«^<x' 
or ^5» txb -^^ o ^ 

„« *^^ <3 <3 *^ o< -C) 
<^ 'X «!>: ®«® ® ®^®c*« 


v.] Auc:}{.v.ol()(;y, 188 

Plate B, Text (in current Tamil). 
%^(^ jS(i^LDS«ir Quirevu QuQ^iQev^ Q^^^€ftrmQm s. 

QeuditfDm iBir(Bia mwcns ufrif^u^ij^eirinu euinf.u^mfiif.\u urrtf.tLj.'EiSd^Lc 
&tf JB/nLQ[^i']Qm/r€Qiou ueirefiuj^Qfiih ermtif^et^^r LjS^fBqT^ fFffiLDmru 

su€sruijr/rs8r fji^jr^^ frtr ¥ Q^€u/ri(^ lutrsm'Sj s^^f^u^Q^Lp/rcu^ ^rrir^ 

lij^^ («) « 69)Ui^6FL^®eiJfli!seifth ^uQu!reirQiss)€3r Q^esr^?si) ^'/ssw 
ip55« Quir€Sf fiGOTi^LDiruj ^t^mr^eu^ g)^,«c3DT^ («/) O^BfrtmL. Qurr 
esrspjLD ^s(9^€ffjs^s(s^^ Qs-'^^j^eu^trseuLD tvieu^jsenQ^puirsvr 

v.] Auc^}{j:ol()oy, 188 

Plate B. Text (in current Tamil). 
^^(^ j8(T5UD«€ir (Suire\)u QuQ^iQev^ G^sveQiLim^GtrmQ^B »- 

Q€us>€ffim mir(Bia saGns ufrtp^u^/ij^emnu €utrif.u^/6^if.iu utrif.iLj.'asd^L^ 
&tf JBinLQ[^i']Qsn'€Qs9u ueirefitu^Qpih ermtif^e^^r L^^yDfiQ} i^ffiLDosn^ 

(^ iDGR-esrsuiir Q^L^iue^i^iT /bQ fBmQ&aew fj^Q^fTtsQ jtr^ rrtr^ (?«tF/fi 
sjesnDjrn-ssr ^jr^^^ utt t Q^€uiri(^ luirom'Si s^^i^u^iQ pifiir^^ ^frir^ 

ifi^^ Qu/r€8r ficifn^iLiriu ^t^ma^eu^ ^^j^Gsytt^ (-2^) Q^iramu. Qutr 


Plate B. (EngUsh TranslaHan). 

Hail I Prosperity ! In the fieventeenth year of the reigu of king Ba^ 
Bajakesari Varman alias Baja Baja Deva, who, in the belief that the 
goddess of Fortune as well as the goddess of the Earth were wedded to 
him, destroyed the Eantalor salai, who conquered by his army Vengainadn, 
Gangapadi, Nulambavadi, Tadiyapadi, Earumalainadu, EoTilpalUyakam, 
the far-famed Izham (Ceylon), and the countryoflrattaipadi with its mwb 
and a half lacs and who by the prowess of his arms deprived the Sezhian 
(i. 6. Pandyas) of (their) glory and splendour. The Lord of Cadiapat- 
nam in Baja Baja Thennadu made over the following dues and innomaii 
from lands (derived from) Perungulam except those belonging to the 
Palli to the God Mabadevar of Sanjayan Cheramangalam to be enjoined ae 
follows :— 

The dues in kind from the lands (assigned for) Devadanam and 
Pallichantam watered by Perungulam tank including the dues from the 
lands (granted for) Adikku4i (village service) should be paid to the IkkamitW 
according to the measurement (used in) Idaiyankarai after deducting 
for wastes and failure such as Iruppazhivu (jS(5^^fi^)y Azhacchoi 
mllazhivii (jtap^©^^ o/»«w£^«y) &c ; failing which the defaulters should pay 
a fine of five kalanji gold for every pon which together with the dues 
should be made over to Tbennilanjiyam. The amount of fine collected 
should be utilised for expenditure on account of this tank and should be 
made over to the Aldkerpan (contractor) who should (duly account for 
it to the person from whom he recived it). 

C—Tdxt (in KoleluUu or Malaiyamai) 

<i_r <^^ 'X_3> ^^<-^<; 

I>-T0xt (in KoUluttiL) 

1. A^^ >SX^ ^S ^j-^^^ 

^ -- ^^ 

ri ^-"^ 

"^ ^^ >n 

(o <? -1^ 

V. ] AncnyEOLOGY. 183 

Plate C. Text (in current Tamil). 
1 Q^tr€t)eciii ^nt irubiresitiQ 

4 Gu^L^ uiir^flfl^€0 uesS 
(Qs/rco€Vih j>f/rr mh ^eiarQ QaastS^ QmiriSeo aiLt^ j^jrCaiB^fl 

Plate C. {English Translation). 

The construction of the temple was commenced in the month of 
Chingom in Kollam year 800. It was finished and consecrated in the 
month of Me lam in the year 820. 

Plate D. Text (in current Tamil). 

Plate D. (English Translation.) 
Hail! Prosperity! In Kollam year 622 when Jupiter was in Kumbham 
and the Sun was in Mithunam (i, e, in the month of Adi), the sum of 
one hundred and sixteen fanams was set apart (for feeding Brahmins) 
from Manippanavam Agram in the temple of Chengavanadu. 

E— Text (in Old Tamil) 

J;^ -OJ fiLj\ <LJ CD <7N^ cN) 2rtf<r]-a 
*^ l^ ^ U> 11 cin'i_^d_uj11 

L^ C^ 'i ^U Li^^ C-^ L^ (Ip CD 1^ ^ 

(T^it^ io © ;|v 'I ^ ik-.<\? ^to 
aj Y ^ *^ 5> <j '2.<"-» '] c-j 

^% ^ ^ «» «& ^ 

^ <|, J? iu o 1 f^» ^* ® b ^^ * 

f)1<^1 -z-* ij (if ^<3\>^2^ 

<Q>^^^]^!\> clc!l 


<r| (^ ^ ff«i zj 1 z_. ^ ^^ 
^ zor^ 2li n c«rAj ti til 


la. ^ (^ a> CO (^ ©c p> I 


^ tJ <f>3 0\) 0^ 


13. ^ ^ ^ oj <^ 

y5^ ckK'£. (B 9^ G ^'\<^'\^^ 

© a T ^^ is " iJ 6\5^ 1 ^ 
•^ 4) «N) -Si/M o ^ ^ «-• 11 

16. O ^-i OJ CO OJ ©^ "J (LJ ^CJ3 

^ G o-i ^^^ ^i^1 ^ ^"^ 



to /^^ -^JJ ^^ |to*^^€^a» 

■—Text (Contlntua.) 

<rO 1/ 6»} «u $ ^—04 JyCO^ 

^ lij S" ^ 1 <f *f ^'a-"^ f>^'^ 
tfO <2j <nq ^ G ij '^<3''aj«T|i 

S— Text (Continued.) 


•Sf «J 1 1 Ut ^ «^ > to ^ ^ ^ 

X— Text (^Jtm^nued.} 
<5>«j **j'j ^ lo <\, <S> /iS* ^ i(k Ato 

G« oi '^ (S" '»-» «^ iSSJ^tJ' 

X—Te^t (ConHnueOJ 

/Kj 4» (3> '^G' ^-l^J 1 JS2^ to ^^^ too 

(S^<S^ /L- ItJ ^ iSl^ £0 OJ CO ijO ^ (o C^ 

*^ «^^^ «^1 ^^4^ ;lN^n 1^ $ 

K-~Tezt (CawHnue€L) 


B— Text (Continued.) 

.^^11^ ai^^/x^ ^ ^ n ^ 

(^ B ® *:^ ® €> €) ® 

Is^ 6?} ^ €«g ^ <^ ^ '/j^ tc:!^ (;<?£-.£§) ®@ 

^^1 .L, © Of ^~S^^1-i^ 

S— Test CContiitMed^ 

V-] Arcileology. 187 

Plate E. Text (in current Tamil). 

€u&r,^TiL^u Lip^^iriU!Bfru,(Sis(Q iLif-iurr^sr ^w[€^s Qmirymu Q^trffiLf 

uvCu,Qpui fL.9ir<3i[ltLu, Sl^ss^pu uttiLt^QpLbQu^^TQfiUj^ia^&T ^jrQib s/r 
sv&ra>fUfriLu,Qfih ^ircuffv^FueQiiith, Sirio^eQtLiih, Q^ireoafucQiLith, Mtl 
(Suu/ruu.(2fiihy QuirQp^^<i\)!rtULb ^j(^&ii^e9tLfLLf ^i^^jrtriUhjmen S€>njrm(g 
t^eotriu sij(ff}S^o(frp utf.iUiTmt(B mrreQio u<5V (ifi^eo /^fiP/f/B^^ijeiRcir («£. 

L- St^o9}pLjuiTtLt^ui QpflevfTGtr uiriLt^QpQuijQpLby ^^eutrmHiuu 
uiriLi^QfiLDj mtreoeirekfuiriLL.QfiLby uvtf. str^p ^t^eQiLfLDy ^^iLQu uirtL 
i^Qfithy Qui (L/^^evfruj\JfiLb {/Sjr(j^^ m^eQiLfLb n^etrcfiiLu, ^iBfijiriuiameff 
^stDj-^'^i^evmu €U(r^Sarpuif. luirGxaQi mireofreu^ QP^^ ^eS/ri^ §}^ 

^[€9r uiriLtLQpLD ^^su/n^fltuu uirCi^rif^LL «.T«uoifQ/ uulL*^ 
aajLD U:TipST€upJh.e9u.iijb ^iLSiuutrLLL^npih Q/^p Qf>^€v.riuj^.ih «j'(^ 
^u'oStLfLL v.effQ'^L^L. jif/6<sjr/nuwsetr a^^jr^:^t^(sv/nusu(f^^^pu£^ 

jtTS6kfLL ^ou^nr jTir^sisr jrir^m ^ir'^S(^^ a= ir <s\: irQ u ^ sibir out %ba.irmeir 
«i.Q/ TtMtrs^Lfi:^'^ (^LbJTs^i^e'irsssTQp Lh&ifutrL UQfiiii ^^eufressfiuju 
uirLLt^(TpLL mn <s\)en6kf unrLLi^Qpijb urrtf. mireup di^eQu^LD ^LL(Suuiru.i^ 
(Lpih Qi.ij (if:^:A)frfU(ipth fijr(^ eh.eQu^Lb ^^enefiiLt^ ^ihjsinniiiiamsfT m 
oi)ji^L^€^nrut ^^ua^Seirputf,\aja^(S iSTevrrsu^ npj^e^ ^eSirij^Osumt 

188 Tbavancore Manual. [Chap. 

(:^^L^iS!J Qou/r^oO /bitujsld tL.^^^ub G«y/rzp^ Q^trtpQe^fTSS^u^y Jir^ jr/rsi 
cnJ)6L£\ j/riLj^ih sfreG'hJS irw^sULD^ Q^ir^itn&sn-^inir^u^ ^SLfsucsruu 

Or^J/^s SsfTLLSi^fPi Qf.Q^/5fl 0&u€rr/r(mu^ 

v.] Archaeology. 1^^ 

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(Ssj-etr LD.m^ev^i(S€V uLiu.Q<stv,7Ui luir^tuir^r^La 


l96 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

eUjBuLJ&V^SLb €9L^bJSQp€9)L.UJfrSSJ^ 
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wiresr /5t_ ^(Bi(^Ui Lj^io ^Q^iam^lruu 

Plate E. (JEnglish Translation). 

Hail! Prosperity! In the fourth year and on the hundred and 
fifty-fourth day of his reign, king Parakesari Varma alias Eajendra Chola 
Deva, the unrivalled among kings, who, after annexing Irattaipadi with 
its seven and a half lacs, striking terror into the heart of king 
Ahavamallan at (the battle of) Perattankarai and taking possession of his 
elephants, horses, women and treasure, held a grand celebration in com- 
memoration of his conquest and sat on liis victorious throne, made the 
following gifts from his palace Keralan Maligai at Kaduvetti of Ganpai- 
konda Cholapuram when he had encamped there : — 

To the Kanni Pidari — the Goddess of Cape Comorin, the follo's^ing 
taxes due from the settled Devedanam lands in Gangaikonda Cholapuram 
alias Kumari in Pnrattaya Nadu of Uttama Chola Vala Nadu of Eaja 
Raja Pandi Nadu :— 

Urkkazhanju (village tithe), 
Eumarakkachanam (marriage dues), 
Meen Pattam (fishery tax), 
Tari Irai (tax on looms), 
Thattara Pattam (tax on gold-smith), 
Kaval kuli (protection dues) , 

Kftl kuli and Kdl kuli (tax on measures and measure- 

Attn Pattam (cattle tax), 
Permutal Ayam (tax on title deeds), 

and other taxes. 

To Eaja Eaja Perum Salai of the same place, the following taxes 
arising from the Devadanam lands of Eaja Eajesvaram Udaiyar Temple : — 

Urkkazhanju (village tithe), 

Eumarakkachanam (marriage dues), 

Meen Pattam (fishery tax), 

Tari Irai (tax on looms}, 

Thattara Pattam (tax on gold-smith), 

lOa TltAVA^'c'oJ<l: Manual. [Chap. 

llaivania Pattam ^tax on leaf merchants), 
Tharagu kuli (tax on commissions), ... 

Kal kuli and Edl kiili (tax on measures and measure- 
and other taxes. 

This settlement was concluded under the king's orders and the said 
lands were freed from all payments to Government from the fourth year 
of his reign. This order was communicated to Tirumandira Olai 
Jayamkonda Chola Maharajan and with the knowledge of Tirumandira 
Olai Nayakam Uttama Chola Kdn, Ealinga King, Tondaiman, the Lord of 
Tribhuvana Fallavanadu and Bhupendra Chola Eandrivaperarayan.. In 
accordance with the above order and under the immediate command.. ol 
Villavarayan and in the presence of the chiefs of the lands reclaimed from 
the forests, who had assembled, this settlement was entered in the 
account register with the help of the under-mentioned people. 

Koottattii AdhikaricnL 

Kajaraja Mazhava Rajan. 

Bajaraja Chola Brahma Eajan. 

Jayamkonda Chola Vizhupparayar. 

Atirajendra Muvendavelar. 

Raja Raja Kesari Muvendavelar. 

Uttama Chola Muvendavelar of Tiruvirkalanadu. 

Mahi Alaya Vizhupparayar. 

Azhakia Chola Muvendavelar. 

Jananathanallur Padaiyar Kali Adittannar alias 

Eajendrasinga Muvendavelar. 
Tirupendra Muvendavelar, Mandin Lokaputrar, the 

Lord of Pasiyamangalam. 
Valava Narayana Muvendavelar, the Lord of Sivakudal, 

Palpanabhan Pallikondan. 
Brahma Pallavaraiyar. 

Padmanabhan Somayajiyar of Kottamangalam. 
Chakrapani Brahniarayar of Nallur. 

Idayil Adhikarical 

Chola Muvendavelar. 

Mummudi Chola Pallavaraiyar. 

Raja Raja Tamil Peraraiyar. 

Jayamkonda Chola Senamuka Muvendavelar. 

v.] Aucn.KOLOGv. IM 

Utiama Chola Muvendavelar. 
Nittavinotha Muvendavelar. 
Kshathra Sikhamani Muvendavelar. 
Gangaikonda Chola Pallavaraiyar. 
Parthivendra Muvendavelar. 
Bhupala Tonga Muvendavelar. 
Eaja Raja Anuthira Pallavaraiyar. 
Amnchika Vizhupparaiyar. 
Abhimana Meru Muvendavelar. 
Madhurantaka Vizhupparaiyar. 
Siinhalantaka Muvendavelar. 
Azhakia Chola Muvendavelar. 
Parthivendra Vizhupparaiyar. 
Pallavan Muvendavelar. 
Virapandya Muvendavelar. 
Vazhuti Kuladipa Muvendavelar. 
Jayanikonda Chola Muvendavelar. 

Kidaranikonda Chola Muvendavelar. 

Sreekanta Muvendavelar. 

Minavan Muvendavelar. 

Lokavidyadhara Muvendavelar. 

Muvendavelar of Rajendra Tinivintalanadu. 

Valavakesari Muvendavelar. 

Brahma Atratrayajiyar. 

Bhatta Somayajiyar of Keralamangalam. 

Pasalai Periya Nambi, Bhatta Bhagamtangiyar. 

Kumara Vidhyadara Muvendavelan. 

Kotandala Muvendavelan. 

Atisaya Chola Muvendavelan. 

Puvendan Venthavelan. 

Jayanikonda Chola Lokavelan. 

Puravari Tinaikkalam Arindaman Muvendavelan. 

Vikrania Chola Pandya Muvendavelan. 

Kuvalaya Divakara Muvendavelan. 

The Lord of Devaniangalaiu. 

Tin tonga Muvendavelan. 

Vira Narayana Muvendavelan. 

Varippustakam Vidangamudayan. 

Chittambalani Udayan. 

IM 'Vkavancouh Manual. [Chap, 

Sundura C'holanallurudayan. 

Mukavctti Manarkudayan. 


Cholamadevi Udayan. 




Varippustakam Sattamangalamudayan, Paruttik- 

kudaiyan, etc. etc, etc. 

Another fact disclosed by the statements already given is that the 
language of most of the inscriptions is Tamil. The reason here is equally 
simple. Malayalam as a national language is ilbt very old. Its resemblance 
to old Tamil is so patent tliat one could hardly help concluding that Mala- 
yalam is nothing more than old Tamil with a good admixture of Sanskrit 
words. Tliere are some very old works in Tamil composed in Travancore 
and by Travancore kings. Besides, the invading Pandyas and Cholas were 
themselves Tamilians and their inscriptions form more than 70 per cent of 
the total in South Travancore. The Sanskrit inscriptions are very few 
and record * Dwaja Pratishtas ' and other ceremonies specially connected 
with Erahminical worship. 

AVitli regard to the date of the inscriptions, the Chola inscriptions are 
tlio most ccmiiion ones till the 3rd century M. E. (12th century A. D.). 
Subsequently we meet with Pandya inscriptions interspersed with those 
of the native kings. The later inscriptions are generally those of the 
sovereigns of Travancore with a small sprinkling of Pandya inscriptions. 
Later still, we have several Neets and Proclamations issued by the dynasty 
of the Nayak chiefs. 

It will also be observed that most of these inscriptions are found in 
temples and other sacred places. Charity, according to the Sanskrit texts, 
loses its merit when the donor boasts of it or advertises it. This is the 
reason why so little is known of private charities of Hindus, though they 
are extremely liberal and cosmopolitan. What the right hand giveth the 
left hand should not know. Such is the Hindu belief. An exception is 
however made in cas(;s of gift to the temples, the object being that a pub- 
lication of such gifts acts as an incentive to other endowments by men of 
wealth, livery success attained by a Hindu results in a religious or charit- 
able endowment. The foreign kings that entered Travancore either as 

v.] ARCHiEOLOGY. %&% 

enemies or as friends made their gifts to most of these temples chiefly as 
thanksgiving for the success given to them by the gods of the different 
temples, but also as a policy of conciliation of the conquered people. 

Stress need not be laid here on the value of these inscriptions. 
Nobody will deny it. They are often the only records that contain the 
true history of Travancore. The late Mr. Sundarain Pillay wrote ;— ** That 
the Travancore inscriptions are fully worthy of that honour, I can now 
confidently assure the Government. They are sure to prove useful in every 
branch of archa3ology. They offer the only reliable basis for the ancient 
histoi'v of Travancore and are sure to render substantial service in placing 
beyond doubt certain leading facts connected with the fluctuating fortunes 
of the Pandyan kingdom and the Chola empire, not to speak of the steady 
light they throw on Dravidian philology and ancient history '\ 

Of the 450 inscriptions that have been transcribed up to date, about 
70 have been carefully and critically examined by the Archaeological 
Department. The historical incidents of value disclosed by them have 
been incorporated in the Early History section of the next chapter. 

Regarding the remaining inscriptions, which still await careful study, 
nothing but the bare outlines are available. Even as they are, they bring 
to light much useful information about the social and political condition of 
early Travancore. Wliat is here attempted is to give a few interesting 
particulars which a casual examination of these inscriptions brings to light. 
Ajs is only natural to expect, nearly two-thirds of the inscriptions relate to 
gifts of lands and other valuables to the several temples in the State or for 
charitable purposes. Gifts to temples relate to construction, repairs and 
additions,c onsecration, nanda lamps, special pujas and offerings ; and among 
charitable purposes are included the construction of wells, water-sheds, 
rest-houses and * Chmnadu-tangi * stones*, and the feeding of Brahmin3 
and other castes. It is interesting to note that the sovereigns of Travan- 
core have not been immindful of the needs of other religionists. It is 
found from two inscriptions on pillars in the temple of Nagaraja at Nager- 
coil, dated 21st Alpasi 681 m. e., and 29th Purattasi 692 m. e., that grants 
of lands were made at the requests of two Jaina priests, Guru Vira Pandi- 
tan and Kamala Vahana Panditan. There is an inscription dated 16th 
Chitrai 669 M. E., in one of the granite pillars at Kumari-muttam, which 
records the assignment by the sovereign of the harbour dues of Kumari- 
muttam and Covalam to the Roman Catholic church at Kumari-muttam 

* Literally stones on whioh the passongors who carry loads on their heads place them 
and take respite wUle travelling long distances of 5 and 10 miles with heavy burdens. All 
C^rer Travancore snch ' Chumadu-tangis * exist on the roadsides, often 7 or 8 for every mile, 

l9d Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

at the request of the congregation attached to that church. ConBidering 
the fact that these inscriptions are nearly four centuries old, the spirit of 
cosmopoHtan tolerance is notewortliy. 

There are six inscriptions which refer to caste and religious disputes 
and the Koyal writs issued in settlement thereof. 

1. On a granite pillar to the south of the temple at Quilon. 

2. On a granite pillar near the temple of Adimula Vinayakar at Nager- 
coil dated 16th Ani G82 m. e. 

3. On a granite pillar at Parasuraman Perunteru, Idalakkudi, dated 
1st Chitrai GGl m. e. 

4. On a granite pillar found in Eumarasamudram Pudukkalanii 
Murungur, dated 12th Thye (370 M. E. 

5. On a granite pillar in front of the temple of Karutha Vinayakar, 
Sahyar Pudutheru, Vatasseri, dated 4th Ani 911 m. e. 

G. On a granite pillar at Kumari-muttam dated 20th Pangnni 
701 M. K. 

In the first of these it is mentioned that the sovereign redressed the 
grievances of 18 castes at Quilon then known as KurakkenikoUam by 
assigning to them separate localities to live in. 

The second remitted the following taxes, which were exacted from 
them by the higher classes without the knowledge of Government viz., 
Earamukattalai, Panam, Padavaram, Padippanam, and Anaivari, to the 
Nadars of Edanadu between the hills of Parali and Tovala. 

The third granted certain privileges to the professional people called 
Sayakars of Idalakkudi viz., 

(1.) They were allowed to appear before the sovereign daring the 
Boyal processions. 

(2.) They were exempted from the payment of all dues with the 
exception of Padaii)panam and Kappalvagai panam. 

(3.) They were freed from persecution at the hands of Brahmins, 
Pillaimars and others who were in the habit of obstructing their passage 
to take water from tanks and wells, by putting up fences of thorns &c., 
assaulting and exacting unreasonable dues from them and interfering 
with and interrupting them in their pubUc rehgious performances. Their 
residence was also prescribed within certain limits. 

The fourth prohibited the lower castes of Valankai and Edankai from 
making religious gifts to the temple of Sakalakalai Martanda Vinayakar* 

v.] ARCHiKOLOGY. l97 

The fifth declared that the temple of Karutha Vinayakar belonged to the 
Sahara and not to the Chetties ; and the sixth refers to the persecution of 
the Christian converts of Kumari-muttam by their Hindu kinsmen. The 
Boyal writ assigned to them a separate locality to live in. 

The next interesting point has reference to the village assemblies 
which appear to have been self-governing bodies. There were such associ- 
ations in Suchindram, Trivandrum, Kadainallur, Nirankarai, Tirunandi- 
kara, Cheramangalam, Parthivasekharapurani, and Nanjanad. It appears 
that these village assemblies had the charge and management of the 
village temples, power to appoint temple accountants and priests and to 
regulate the system of worship. They levied fines and imposts on the 
villagers and an inscription on a granite pillar at Santhur in Toduvatti in 
Vilavankod Taluq, dated 20th Avani 819 m. e., records that a Koyal writ 
was issued prohibiting the village assemblies to punish villagers without 
the knowledge of Government. There were large assemblies of Six Hund- 
red and Three Hundred for Venad who met and deliberated on all quest- 
ions of administration. The countiy was divided into Divisions, Dis- 
tricts and Desams, the last being apparently the imit or the smallest 
administrative division. 

There are a nmnber of inscriptions relatnig to taxation. A 
very important one on a pillar standing outside the temple of Manalikarai 
Alwar in Kalkulam Taluq, dated 27th Medom 410 m. e., (1235 a. ]).)^ 
records a Koyal Proclamation issued after a consultation held among 
the loyal chieftains of Sri Vira Kavi Kerala Varma ruling Venad, the 
members of the Kodalinallur assembly and the people of that village 
as well as the individual entrusted with the right of realising the Govern- 
ment dues. The chief points of interest in this inscription are that the 
whole village was responsible for the tax so that when any portion of the 
crops failed, the villagers and the N^illage assembly should inspect and if 
satisfied of the drought, the sufferers had to pay only one-fifth of the nor- 
mal dues, while the balance fell on those whose lands did not fail. If there 
was a general failure, then the village had to pay only one-fifth of 
the whole demand due from it; if the \illagers should however 
desire that the collections should be postponed, it was done accord- 
iniglyi th^ unpaid amounts being adjusted in the years of plenty. 
From another inscription on a granite pillar in Kandiripandi Vilai 
Vadaseri, Agastisvaram Taluq, dated 4th Kartikai 873 m. e. (1697 A. d.), 
we gather that a Boyal writ was issued to the people of Nanjanad 
remitting the taxes on their lands fur Vi years on account of the in- 

i98 Travancore Manual. [Chap 

vasion ot* tlie Xayakkars into Xanjaiiad which evidently caused much 
loss and damage. F^esides the land and other taxes noted in the inscrip- 
tions already ret'eired to, there were a niunber of others also as revealed 
by the inscription on the southern wall of the temple at Keradapuram. 
dated 21st Kiunbliam 491 ^[. K. ( 1810 A. n. ). They were : — 

Othii-ai tax. 

Bamboo grain. 


Tax on palmyras. 






What these taxes were is not clear and further particulars regarding 
them^ire wanting. 

There are references in some inscriptions to measures of land in 
vogue and to coins current in the country. In two granite pillars in Vatas* 
seri, there are inscriptions dated 28th Thye 849 M. E. (1674 A. D.) and Ist 
Chitrai 793 M. e. (1618 a. d.), from which it is foimd that the measurement 
known in Tanjore and 'I'ricliinopoly as Vdi was in use in Travancore also 
in early times. The different kinds of coins referred to are, Ealijniga- 
rayan Panam, Erattarasi, Salakkai, Kalanji etc. It is not known what 
a Salakkai is Kaliyuga liayan Panam has already been referred onder 
coins. Erattarasi is apparently a single coin of the value of two Baei 
fanams. No reference has hitherto been found about the existence of- 
a double coin and further researches should throw light on this point. 
An inscription on the northern wall of the Bhagavati Temple at Cape 
Comorin, dated the 27th year of Sri Vikrama Pandya Devar, shows that 
a gold coin was granted to the temple. Ii is not clear what that coin was. 

Some inscriptions refer to the troubles from external foes. The 
invasion of Nanjanad by the Nayakkars has been already referred to. An 
insciiption on the granite pillar in the temple at Tirunandikara, Elalkulam 
Taluq, records the destruction of the Talakkulam Salai by the adversary 
of the Cheras and the destruction by Chola King Raja Eaja Kesari Varma 
of the Eandalur Salai is insciibed on the Kailasanathapparai at Suchindrani) 
dated the tenth year of the victor's reign, wherein he is stated to have 
conquered Gan^'aipadi, Nulambappadi, Tadukaipadi and Vengai Nadu. 

Travancore inscriptions offer a remarkably rich and varied field for 

v.] Arch.eology. 109 

atchaoological study and research. There is scarcely a temple in South 
Travancore whose walls and pillars are not covered with old inscriptions. 
The same must be the case more or less with North Travancore though 
that part of the country on account of its inaccessibility in the olden days 
was not the scene of successive invasions as the more open and flat tracts 
of South Travancore ; but no archaeological researches have been made 
there worth the name. The Travancore inscriptions apart from their 
historical importance are also valuable as evidence of their age. A 
dated inscription is a rarity in other parts of India but in Travancore 
nearly all inscriptions bear the years, months and sometimes even dates, 
days of the week and the position of Jupiter or other constellations to 
enable the student to trace their exact dates. There can be no doubt that 
when these are fully studied they will throw considerable light on the 
early history of Travancore. 

We owe it to the genius and energy of His Excellency the late Viceroy 
(Lord Curzon) that these relics arc being actively resuscitated in other 
parts of India. He said : — 

'• India is covered with the visible records of vanished dynasties, of for- 
gotten raonarchs, of persecuted and sometimes dishonoured creeds... If there 
be any one who says to me that there is no duty devolving upon a Christian 
Government to preserve the monuments of a pagan art, or the sanctuaries of an 
alien faith, I cannot pause to argue with such a man. Art and beauty, and the 
reverence that is owing to all that has evoked human genius, or lias inspired 
human faith, are independent of creeds, and, in so far as they touch the sphere of 
religion, are embraced by the common religion of all mankind. Viewed from this 
standpoint, the rock temple of the Brahmans stands on precisly the same footing 
as the Buddhist Vihara, the Mahomedan Musjid and the Christian Cathedral. 
There is no principle of artistic discrimination l)etween the mausoleum of 
the despot and the sepulchre of the saint. What is beautiful, what is historic, 
what tears the mask off the face of the past, and helps us to read its 
riddles, and to look it in the eyes — these, and not the dogmas of a combative 
theology, are the principal criteria to ^Yllicb we nmst look. Much of ancient 
history, even in an age of great discoveries, still remains mere guess work. It is 
only being slowly pieced together by the eftbrts of scholars and by the outcome 
of researdb. But the clues are lying everywhere at our hand, in buried cities, in 
undeciphered inscriptions, in casual coins, in crumbling pillars and pencilled 
slabs of stone. They supply the data by which we may reconstruct the annals 
of the past, and recall to hfe the moiTiHty, the Hterature, the politics, the art 
of a perished age... To us the relics of Hindu, and Mahomedan, of Buddhist, 
Brahmin, and Jain are, from the antiquarian, the historical, and the artistic point 
of view, equally interesting and equally sacred. One does not excite a more 
vivid, and the other a weaker, emotion. Each represents the glories or the faith 
of a branch of the human family. Each fills a chapter in Indian history. Eacli 
is a part of the heritage which Providence has committed to the custody of the 
ruling power ".' 

•Speech on ihe * Ancient monuments in India' de'ivcrod at the anunal meeting of tho 
Asiatic Socioty of Ueniral on the 7th February 1900. 


It appears to mo that \v(* cnuld \vell follow the lead of the Govern- 
monfc of India in this r«vspoct, for as T^ord Curzon remarked, 

" For my part I feel far from clear that Government might not do a good 
deal more than it is now doing, or than it has hitherto consented to do. I 
certainly cannot look forward to a time at which either the obligations of the 
State will have become exhausted, or at which archaBological research and con- 
sei'vation in this country can dispense with Government direction and control. 
I see fruitful fields of labour still unexplored, bad blunders still to be correotedf 
gaping omissions to be supplied, plentiful opportunities for patient renovatioii 
and scholarly research. In my opinion, the tax-payers of this country are in the 
last degree unlikely to resent a somewhat higher expenditure — and, after all, a 
few thousand rupees go a long way in archusological work, and the total outlay 
is exceedingly small — upon objects in which I believe them to be as keenly 
interested as we arc ourselves. I hope to assert more definitely during my time 
the Imperial responsibility of Government in respect of Indian antiquities, to 
inaugurate or to persuade a more lilx3ral attitude on the part of those with 
whom it rests to provide the means, and to be a faithful guardian of the 
priceless treasure-house of art and learning that has, for a few years at any 
rate, been committed lo my chnr^c*. 

Ports and military works. The following account* of the 
cliaracter of the country from a mihtary point of view, written a few 
years after th(? dem()liti(ni of the fortifications, may be quoted ^ith 
advantage : — 

*• We do not o])Scrv'e here tliat multitude of small forts so common in other 
parts of the peninsula, and which convey such an idea of the insecurity of the 
times. There is nothing in Travancore that deseiTcs tlie name of a fortress; its 
aspect may supersede the necessity, at least rend(?r it less urgent of such defences. 
The lines at Arahnnihni commonly called Arambooly, (measuring 17 miles,) 
that guard the entrance of the country by the champaign tract bordering Cape 
Comorin, though raised with sucli innnense labour were passed with a facility 
that proved their weakness. Those on the north terminating at Pullypuram and 
stretching the hazardous lengtli of twenty-four miles, still further show the futil- 
ity of attempting to fortify any large extent of the countrj'. If Tippu was once 
foiled in liis attempt to surmount them, tlie defeat is not chargeable to their 
strength. They now present only a high bank and naiTow half-choked ditch, 
the whole overgrown with forest, but in point of structure they are greatly 
inferior to the southern Ihius, and could at no time have offered any difficulties the 
most ordinary enterprise would not readily overcome. The fort of Kodungaloor 
(forming a point upon those lines) which arrested Tippu's advance experienced 
iiis vengeance, and is now scarcely to bo traced. The two lines of forti- 
fications inteisecting the country and passing Yaithumanoor and Muattu- 
pully are quite of similar character, only of a somewhat loider structure; 
a strong fence of baml)OOs following the crests of the banks serve now to point 
out the course they pursued. In the obscure feuds of the petty chiefs miose 
boundary they marked or guarded, they may doubtless, however feeble the 
barrier, have answered the pui^poses of defence, but it is only for such waxfars 
they are calculated, and it is impossible not to regret that the labour dedicatad 
lo their eitfclion had not l^een better applied. The walls encompassing a few 

• Memoir of tho Survov oF flip Travn^r^oi-o niul Oocliin Statos- -Liout8. Ward and Cornier 
Veil. I. Pnjro 122. 







'^^^^ <L ■_ -/y^^^^ l^^^-TJCTT-^- JW 




■■' i *-- 









^ /^^ ^"'^'"VT*^'*'"'^ ' ™^'^'*''^ 


V,] Aech^ology. 201 

towns in the southern parts have but a weak profile. Palpanavcram and Ooda- 
gherry are among the most remarkable, but are places of no stren<;th ; their 
fortifications planned on an extensive scale yet remain unfinished. The latter 
presents however many facilities for the improvement of its defence. The coast 
is entirely devoid of fortified places ; the little fort of Chunganacherr\', built by 
that warlike prelate Menezes, probably, to check the levity of his converts, is 
now dismantled. Its situation was valuable as a depot and its strength, sufficient 
to secure it against any attempts of the natives, rendered it in some measure a 
a place of retreat against the accidents of war. 

"The country is particularly strong and generally woody. The multitude of 
streams that intersect while tliey aid the agriculture guard the possessions of 
the people ; the inequality of its surface renders cavalry almost useless and im- 
pedes the movements of regular troops, at least the exercise in some degree of 
that discipline which renders them formidable. The ghauts, that gi-and natural 
barrier which constitutes a no less stnking physical than moral limit, at once 
defines and defends the eastern confines ; the mass of hills descending from them 
are only traversed by narrow passes, which run into rugged defiles as they pro- 
ceed eastward, but though opposing a strong and defensible frontier, its great ex- 
tent would demand the exertions of an enterprising people to guard all its previous 
points — an undertaking rendered the more difficult from the bad climate common 
to those parts during a period of the year and the vast extent of hills intervening 
between the populated tracts and eastern confines. The northern frontier is for 
the greater part mountainous, and where not covered by hills, lines have been 
thrown up to defend it. The inefficacy of those works as a barrier has already 
l^en mentioned; they are crossed by a variety of roads, which running through 
a comparatively open and level country, present no material impediment. In 
fact, there is a considerable choice of entrances, but it is only the most northern 
and southern ones that admit the passage of artilleiy ; light l)odies of infantr>' 
unencimabered by heavy baggage might enter by ali the smaller ghauts. It is 
said that Hyder or Tippu had it in contemplation to penetrate by the (loodaloor 
or Cumbum ghaut, and the choice would have been judicious, as enabling him 
by a few forced marches to reach the central parts of the country. The monsoon 
would necessarily affect the efficiency of any military equipment to a degree^ 
that would perhaps render it necessary to suspend operations during its violcMice: 
the period however that can be so considered is not of long continuance. This 
part of MalayaUm eluded rather than opposed Mussulman and ^fahratta 
dominions ; its weakness almost courted aggi'essions, but to its remote situation and 
mountainous aspect may possibly be attributed its escape from the gi-asp of those 
conquerors, whose armies composed in a great measure of hordes of cavalry, 
have not ventured to pass the mountainous line that equally opposetl thoii* 
entrance as escape. " 

The following is a brief description of the three most important 

forts of Travancore. 

1. The Udayagiri Fort* is situated alongside the main southern 

road (33 miles from Trivandrum), nmning south-east and leading to 


The area of the ground enclosed within the walls of the fort is 
84| acres. Within this area there is a small tank and a number of ruined 

• The description of this and tlint of tlic Padmnnabhnpurain Uwx xfi rakcn from a Hopori 
sabmitted to Government by the Chief En^'neer in .lune 1878 

30a Travancork Manual. [Chap. 

biiildin^^s amongst which is a church. In the centre of a large square of 
fort, tlierc is a hill 2G0 feet high which commands the whole of the fort. 

The walls enclosing the fort are, on an average, 15 feet thick 
and 18 feet high including the parapet. They are lined within and with- 
out with stone ; the outside lining or fencing is of laterite imbedded in 
chunam. The facing is on an average 4 feet thick up to the foot of para- 
pets. The parapets are 3 feet thick and on an average 4 feet high. The 
inner lining is of rough stone 2 feet thick and on an average 6 feet high. 
The space between the inner and outer lining consists of earth which goes to 
form the ramparts. The fort has in all ten bastions, five of which are 
intended for cannon, the others being pierced for musketry only. The 
main entrance into the fort is a gateway near one of the bastions which iB 
10x0. Besides the gateway, there are smaller inlets near three other 
bastions. 1'he fort walls are in a fair state of preservation. The entire 
area is over*»rown with jungle. 

2. The PADMAKARHArrn.vM fort. This lies about half a mile 
norLh-wcst of Udayagiri fort, on the southern road 88 miles from Tri- 
vandrum, and is overlooked by a hill to the north on which there is a 
redoubt built. The distance of the redoubt from the nearest bastion of 
the fort is 2,540 feet bearing 12'' w\ of N. The height of the redoubt as 
ob.served by the aneroid is 220 feet above ramparts of fort. This was 
at one time the capital of Travancore {ind is still an important place being 
the headquarters of the Southern Division. 

The area of the ground enclosed within the fort walls is 186J 
acres. The space is for the most part filled up with houses (amongst 
the most noteworthy of which are the palaces of the former Maharajahs 
and- two largo and famous temples). There is also wot cultivation 
within, irrigated by a large tank situated at the north-east comer of the 

The walls comprising the fort are 3 feet thick and built with 
granite up to within 8 feet of the parapets, the remaining portion being 
laterite. At the four corners of the fort there are four main bastions 
more or less of one size and shape. One of these was evidently in- 
tended as a sort of watch-tower since it runs out to the summit of a de- 
tached hill. The fort has ramparts only for half the length of the wall, 
the walls alone being defences for the remaining length. Even there the 
i:imparts are nr)t complete throughout, as in certain places the earth filling 
is warittMl. The height of the walls varies according to the inclination 







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v.] ABCHiKOLOGY. d03 

of the ground, the highest elevation being 24 feet and the lowest io 
feet, including the parapets which are all 3 feet high throughout. The 
principal entrances into the fort are four gateways situated one on each 
wall and there are also other smaller gateways near three of the bastions. 
The fort is not overgi-own with jungle. Its walls to all appearance are 
generally sound. Over one of the gateways however there is an unfilled 
breach in the wall of 8 feet, and at another point it is observed that 
the wall for a length of 27 feet consists of nothing but laterite from top to 

3. Vattakotta Fort. The South Travancore lines or Vattakotta 
are worthy of notice extending as they do across the country. They arc 
built of stone cemented with chunam, but are now in ruins having been 
demolished soon after the entrance of the British troops in 1809. The 
new lines, as they are called, commence on the coast | of a mile west of the 
point of Cape Comorin, with bastions at 165 yards distant from each 
other ; they run north 1^ miles to Chevery Kotta, a redoubt built on reeks 
which is conspicuous from thence, then W. N. W. 3 miles in a direct 
line where they are connected with the old lines about 500 yards 
S. S. E. of the village of Thanumalayan Putur, at which spot there 
are two gateways ; the old hues from thence run at an obtiiso an<i:lc 
with the new which still continue to the Pinnewaram gatej and 
from thence in the same direction to the steps for the Nediuiuilai hill 
and appear again on the steep on the opposite side and run 5 fiulongs to 
the Rameswar gate; from thence to the slopes of Kattadi hill, a dis- 
tance of 2 miles (a granary and powder magfiizine are built a short distance 
north of the Rameswar gate), and thence rather waving to Vattakotta, a 
strong irregular redoubt on the coast, which is the only part coimected 
with the lines that has not been demolished.* 

* Memoir of the Travancore Survey, Vol. If. Pnjrc 5. 


Tkavancoke Manual. 



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v.] ARCHiEOLOGY. 907 

Tombs and Monuments. The writer of the vohiminous book, 
Church History of Travancore* says that in point of ancient momimentR 
the Christian church in Travancore is perhaps the poorest church in the 
world. It is strajige, he says, that when there are monuments and epitaphs 
belonging to the Portuguese, Dutch and English periods, there are none 
belonging to the earlier period when the Christians were under the entire 
sway of Native Bulers. Excepting the tombs in the numerous Christian 
cemeteries in the State, there are no other kinds of monuments of any 
importance. The old tombs in the cemeteries are mostly of Portuguese, 
Dutch and EngUsh origin, all belonging to a comparatively recent period. 
The oldest tombstones yet found do not take us beyond the 17th century. 
These are mostly to be found in the following places : — 

The Anjengo cemeteiy ; the Cape Comorin Church ; St. Francis 
Xavier's Church at Kottar ; L. M. S. cemetery, Nagercoil ; in the ruins 
of the old Church at Fort Udayagiri ; Tiruvitankode Chm*ch ; Kolachel ; 
L. M. S. cemetery at Parassala ; L. M. S. cemetery at Neyyur ; Valia- 
tora Church near Trivandrum ; L. M. S. compound at Kannamoola, 
Trivandrum ; Christ Church cemetery, Trivandrum ; L. M. S. cemetery 
at Pattathanam, Quilon ; Tuet Church, Quilon ; Modakara Church, Quilon ; 
St. Thomas* Church, Quilon ; Shencottah ; C. M. S. Church, Mavelikara ; 
C. M. S. cemetery at Alleppey ; C. M. S. cemetery, Kottayam ; Verapoly 
Church ; Puthenchera Church ; Manjummel Church ; and Tangasseri. 

Mr. Agur believes that the utter absence of Christian monuments in 
the country belonging to the purely Hindu period does not much speak 
for the toleration afforded. Another reason urged by him is the absence of 
systematic archselogical researches. It is unsafe to hazard any opinions 
on such matters without sufficient data. The tolerance of the ancient 
governments of Travancore under Hindu kings is established beyond a 
doubt. It is not an open question. It is handed down to us as an undis- 
puted tradition. I should think that the absence of Christian monuments 
is due mostly to the apathy of the Native Christians themselves, an 

By C. M. Apnr B. A. 

208 Travancore Manual. [Chap. V. 

apathy natural to the community as in the case of their Hinda brethren 
with whom they are one in race and sentiment. The real reason for the 
absence of such tombs and epitaphs is that, as admitted by the writer him* 
self, " the mass of Native Christians for centuries seem to have never 
cared to erect tombs over the gi*aves of their friends and relationfl. 
What a contrast these Malabar Christians are to their contemporaries, 
the early Christians of Eome and the West, who carefully deposited the 
remains of their dear departed ones in well-prepared chambers sealed and 


** Hiitory at leaet in its state of ideal' perfection is a compound of poetry and 


Travancore, like the whole kingdom of Kerala itself, has had an 
onintemipted succession of Hindu sovereigns from remote antiquity. It 
is probably the only country in this part of India, where Hindu traditions, 
Hindu manners and customs, Hindu learning and the Hindu religion 
are still preserved in their original simplicity and purity, owing chiefly 
to the continuous and prosperous rule of a long line of Hindu kings from 
of old. The natural barrier of mountain and sea was another circum- 
stance which kept it intact as it gave it an inaccessibility to the outside 
world and contributed to its comparative immunity from molestation and 
conquest by the warlike races who successively swept over the rest of the 
Indian continent. But, as is generally the case in India, there has been 
no regular or continuous record kept of the kingdom of Kerala, its origin 
and progress, its peoples or its ancient administrations. As Bishop 
Caldwell justly remarks, " It is a singular fact that the Hindus though 
fond of philosophy and poetry, of law, mathematics and architecture, of 
music and the drama, and especially of religious or theosophic specula- 
tions and disquisitions, seem never to have cared anything for history ". 
Its history therefore remains to be written. 

There are, however, ample materials for a good and reUable account, 
lying scattered about all over the land, in old Olas, copper-plate and stone 
inscriptions, in the sacred Puranas and Temple Chronicles, in quaintly 
written old books of Sanscrit, Tamil or Malayalam, such as the Kerala 
Mahatmya, the Keralolpatti, the Nannul and the Tolkapyam, in the stray 
verses of Kambar, in proverbs and maxims, in nursery tales and maidens ' 
songs, in ancient coins and in the fragmentary records of ancient commerce 
from the time of the Greeks, in the traditional architectmre of houses, 
temples and temple flagstafis, of Kavoo-shrines, Gopurams, Mantapams 
and old forts, in the diaries and note-books of old sailors and soldiers, in 
the ancient titles of kings and chiefs, or later on in the treaties and en- 
gagements with the Hon'ble East India Company, in the Residency and 

210 Travakcore MANUiVL. [Chap, 

Huzur records at Trivandrum. in the valuable archives of Fort St. George, 
in the Mission reports and private letters of the last century, in the 
modem but incomplete historical compilations of Sir Madava Kow, Shung- 
oonny Menon and Nanoo Pillay and a host of lesser writers, in the Manu- 
als and histories of adjacent British Districts, in the records of various 
Departments of the State, in the State Administration Reports and Ga- 
zettes for the last half a century, in Almanacs and Calendars, in sundry 
magazines and newspapers and in the memories of old men still living — all 
awaiting the patient inquiry, the toilsome research and the genius of the 
true historian to collate, to discriminate and to depict. Until such a his- 
torian arises, the account attempted in the following pages may be taken 
as a faithful narrative, in which all available information about the coun- 
try and its people, whether traditionary or of an authentic or historical 
value, has been carefully brought to book and as fully as tlie time at the 
disposal of a heavily worked Revenue official would permit. 

Section A.— Anciknt Histouy. 

The ancient history of Travancore is mostly tradition. The chief 
authority for the tradition is the KcralolpatU, a Malayalara treatise which 
fully gives whatever of tradition is known on this coast. What is tradi- 
tional need not necessarily be false, and when that tradition is found 
closely interwoven with the details of the daily life of a population and its 
impress still left on the behaviour of races and classes towards each other 
as in Keralam, it attains the rank of authentic history. 

According to this authority {Kerahlpatti), Parasurama, a great Brah- 
min sage and warrior of the race of Bhrigu, the greatest of Rishis accord- 
ing to the Bhagavad-gita, created the land of Kerala. Parasurama's father 
was the great Rishi Jamadagni and his mother was Renuka. He is said 
to be one of the Jra/(/n«f of Vishnu. His exploits belong to the close of 
the Treta Yugam just preceding the birth of Rama, another Avatar 
of Vishnu. While Parasurama was living with his parents on the banks 
of the Narmuda, a distressing episode within the family circle embittered 
his early life. One day his mother Renuka was late in returning fioni 
the river with the usual pot of water for the household use, which pot 
was not a potter's baked vessel but one daily improvised by Renuka herself 
witli tlie loose river sand, a feat ascribed to the miraculous power of her 
chastity. That day, it so happened, she returned without the water, for 
she could not make the pot of sand as usual ; and on Jamadagni 's enquir- 
ing for the cause of this failure in his faithful wife, she admittcni that she 
wap distracl(Ml by the beautiful fonn of a Gandharva reflected in tl)e 

VI.] Anciekt History. 211 

water, after which she could not, she said, make the pot of sand. This 
the Bishi thought was a deflection on the part of his wife and losing his 
temper, he ordered his sons to cut off her head. Parasurama's four bro- 
thers refused to obey their father's mandate, for they said, ** the sin of 
killing a mother is even greater than that of disobeying a father ". When 
Parasurama was asked, he loyally obeyed, took his axe and cut oft 
his mother's head with one stroke. Jamadagni was gratified and com- 
manded hie dutiful son to ask of him any boon he pleased. Parasurama 
implored, " Holy sire, I have faithfully obeyed thy behests, for I knew 
full well tliy wonderful powers. Restore to me, I pray thee, my dear 
mother, the sacred person to whom I owe my birth. I have killed her, 
for a father's command must not be disregarded ". The Eishi wept for 
repentance and restored Renuka to life. But the sin of taking away his 
mother's life hung like a heavy cloud on Parasurama's youthful mind. 
This was one of the early causes, it is said, that subsequently led to 
Parasurama's creating and peopling Keralam. 

He was then sent by his parents to tbe hei-mitage of liis great-grand- 
father, Bhiigu, to receive his education. After some time the sage sent 
him to the Himalayas to pray to God Siva and obtain his blessing. Thus 
Parasurama spent many years on the Himalayas in devotion and penance, 
which pleased Siva who appeared to him in person, blessed him and 
dii-ected him to visit all the holy places on earth, which ho did. Mean- 
while war broke out between the Devas and the Asuras, and the Devas 
being worsted in the fight sought the aid of God Siva who at once com- 
manded Parasurama to assist the Devas, giving him the necessary instruc- 
tions in the war and the use of his divine weapon Parasu (axe), from 
which circumstance he took his name Parasurama. He mot the Asuras 
in war, gained a decisive victory over them, and restored the Devas to 
their former possessions. He again returned to the Himalayas and for a 
considerable time was engaged in penance there. Siva w as much grati- 
fied, paid a visit again to his faithful votary and presented him with a 
divine chariot and a bow, which were to stand him in good stead when- 
ever he wanted their use. 

Having thus obtained all he wished for, Parasurama went back to 
Bhrigu and thence to his own parents on the banks of the Narmuda ; when 
to his horror he found that his holy father's hermitage had become the 
scene of robbery, violence and murder. This sad story may be briefly 
narrated hero. Kartaviryai'juna, the well-known Kshatriya king, one day 
visited Jamadagni in his hermitage and as was due to a crowned monarch 

dl2 Trava^^core Manual. [Chap. 

of his position, tlie Kishi gave liim a right royal reception, feasting him 
and his numerous retinue by the aid of his miraculous Kaniadheim — ft 
celestial cow which only a Rishi's powder could create ; for, it is said, the 
liishis of old were simple anchorites living in their jungle homes without 
neighbours or servants or relatives and trusting only to the powers 
of their Tapas (penance) for offering due hospitaUty to the kings ajid other 
great men who visited them. Kartaviryarjuna coveted so precious a 
cow and in a vein of absolute despotism took it away by force. Suffice 
it to say tliat the cow, however, had to be subsequently restored 
to the Rishi by Kartaviryarjuna himself. Thereafter his sons ever 
bore a grudge to the Kishi on account of their father's humiliation, 
and by way of vendetta they invaded the Rishi's home at an un- . 
guarded moment and put him to death. Renuka, his wife and the 
mother of Parasurama, then committed the act of self-immolation on her 
husband's funeral pile as became a true Sati. Soon after this tragedy 
was enacted, Parasurama returned home and his rage and sorrow knew 
no bounds, and he set Cyut with his Farasu granted to him by God 
Siva vowing vengeance on the whole Kshatriya ra<2e, of whom he resolv- 
ed not to let a single one survive on earth. 

The story goes on to say that Parasurama destroyed the Kshatriyasin 
twenty one successive wars, and the whole of India thus lay devastated and 
prostrate before him — his own uncontested dominion. When his wrongs 
were thus avenged, he was stricken with repentance, called a council of 
the great Rishis * and begged of them to be enlightened as to how best 
he may expiate his Vimhatyadosham, i. e., the sin of having killed 
so many crowned lieads and their vast armies. He was advised to 
make a gift of the whole laud thus acquired to Brahmins, which being 
done, the Brahmins who liad received the land told him that his stay in 
the Da/wf//t land was opposed to the spirit of a free gift, and that there- 
fore, if he would avoid sin, lie must quit the land at once. Parasurama 
was convinced of the sin of using what he had given away and so retired 
to the Western Ghauts immediately for penance again. 

By severe penance and the propitiation of Varuna, the god of the waten, 
and by offering due worship to Bhumi Devi, the Goddess of the earth, he 
got permission to claim as his own as much land as could be covered by 
the throw of his axe from Gokarnam, which was then the land's-end, into 
tlie southern sea. He hurled liis axe and it fell at Kanya Kumari or Cape 

• Vasishta, Vumadcva, Jubali, Kusyupa, Viavaniitra, Mrikanda. Agastya, NuadSi 
Satauanda, Gautama, Atri, RiBliyusriiijrn. Parasara aud Vedavyasa are said bav© met at this 


VI.] Ancient History. lIlS 

Comorin. Thus was created the land of Keralam, extending from Gokaar- 
nam to the Cape, a length of 160 yojanas by 10 yojanas according to the 
Pnrana. The scientific aspect of the Puranic statement of the miraculous 
creation of Kerala by Parasurama is based on the upheaval of the earth 
and the subsidence of the sea by volcanic action, and geologists confirm 
the fact of Parasurama's land having been under water in past ages. The 
late Shungoonny Menon in his History of Travancore quotes the 
following observation, by a writer in the Kottayam College Quarterly 
Magazine^ as regards the origin of Kerala : — 

*• There was once a subsidence, probably sudden, at Gokarnam, and after- 
wards a perceptible upraising, most probably in this case gradual, of at least 
some portion, if not of neai-ly all the coast between Gokarnam and the Cape. 
The whole appearance of the coast of Kerala, wherever at least we find the low 
lands and backwaters, would appear to indicate that it has been raised, certainly 
during the present era ; and if, as our legend would seem to tell, this has hap- 
pened under the eye of man, it becomes the more deeply interesting**. 

The land thus reclaimed is even now known in common parlance as 
ParasiiraffiO'kshetram or the land of Parasurama. It is said in the Purana 
that Parasurama desired the Trimurtis and the Devas to give a fitting 
name to his new land. God Siva called it * Kerala * in honour of the 
marriage of the Sea-king's daughter to Keralan, son of Jayanta. Vishnu 
gave him his Sudarsanam (Discus) and Siva his Vrishabham (Bull) and 
these were consecrated at Srimulastanani in Trichur. Then Vishnu 
crowned him king and commanded him to found 24,000 temples and 
govern the land according to the Dharma-Sastras. It is also known as 
Kamta-bhumi or the land of good deeds, meaning that a man's salvation 
depends entirely upon good actions, as opposed to the other coast, which 
is called Pwmya-bhiwiiy where mere birth goes a gi'eat way towards 
redemption from sin. The reclaimed land is the tract of country now 
covered by Canara, Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. 

The new land was not fit for habitation ; the settling down had not 
been completed. The quaking did not cease, so the Purana says ; hence 
Parasurama sprinkled gold dust and buried coins and thus formed a treasure- 
trove which stopped the quaking of the land. He prepared a great yagam 
(sacrifice) at Varkala for the same purpose. Thereafter Parasurama 
brought colonies of Brahmins from the north, from the banks of the 
Krishna, the Godaveri, the Narmuda, the Kaveri and from Madura, 
Mysore, the Maharashtra and from many other places and peopled Kera- 
lam. The Brahmin colonists so brought belonged to eight gotrarm or 
families. The Arya Brahmins formerly set out from Ahikshetram and 

214 Travancobe Manual. [Chap, 

came to reside in tlie Kslietraiii of Saiuania-Panchakam called alsoKuru* 
kshelra, from which they were brought b^y Parasurama and settled in 

Parasuraiiiii then wont to l\iradesa (foreign country), where he 
met a Ksliatriya whom he persuadetl to go with liim to Kerala, and 
with In's aid brought and established eighteen Hamanta families there. 

Then lie brought a repj-esentative of each profession, viz: — Carpen- 
ter, Wlacksniith, Oil-monger, Goldsmith, Barber, Stone-mason, Washer- 
man il'c. Separate liouses were built for them and rules for their conduct 
were framed. 

Then he brought all kinds of /jfraius and seeds, such as black peas, 
green peas, gingelly seeds, all kinds of vegetable plants, medicinal plants 
and all kinds of trees, especially the cocoanut, the plantain, and the jack, 
which are peculiar to Kerala. All these were brought to Kerala by the 
sea. The cocoanut and the plantain trees were brought, it is said, on a 
New Moon day, and hence it is believed on this coast that these trees 
when planted on New Moon days }ield better than other days. So every 
true Nayar selects the New Moon as the best day for j>lanting them. 

Parasurama introduced several changes in the customs of his Brah- 
juin colonists to prevent them from going back to their native countr}% 
which they did IVom time to time and thus greatly retarded the progress 
of Parasurama's Jepeated atteinpts at colonisation of his new land. Some 
of the changes were : — 

(1) That the males should give up their back tuft of hair and adopt 
the front tutt now so universal in Malabar ; 

(•2) Th'dt thiihoy\ Haniacartanam should be celebrated at .the age 
of isixteen, when he gives up the austerities of a bachelor's life. This is 
foi- the followers of the Kig-Veda. Tliose who follow the Yagur-Veda cele- 
brate the Samavartanam at the age of V2 ; 

(8) That in the reciting of the Veda, a nodding of the head is a 
necessary accompaniment, so abhorrent to the Vedic scholars of the old 
country. They also reprobate the sicaram or intonation adopted by the 
Nambudiri Brahmins in the recitation of the Veda; 

(4) That even married males need not wear more than one 
Brahminical holy thread or Yafpn/ojxivitam while on the other coast the 
double thread is an invariable symbol of the married man: 

(5) That the eldest sun alone need marry; 

VI.] Ancient History. 216 

(6) That one Brahmin alone is sufficient to be fed at a Sraddhamy 
while two is the invariable number on the other coast ; 

(7) That a sweetmeat locally known as Vatsan be given to the fed 
Brahmins after Sraddha meal. This of course will be quite abhorrent to 
the feelings of the other coast people where the fed Brahmins are expected 
to eat nothing for the next twenty-four hours; 

(8) That females when they get out of their houses shoidd be pro- 
tected from profane gaze by a big cadjan umbrella and accompanied by a 
Sudra maid-servant; 

(9) That females need not adorn themselves with jewels considered 
so indispensable on the other coast; 

(10) That women need not wear more than a single cloth tied round 
their loins. This is generally nine cubits long — one end of which is passed 
between the legs and fixed in the waist behind, while tlie other end is wrap- 
ped round. This covers but a small portion of the body below tlie waist, 
while on the other coast women wear a single cloth, of course, about six- 
teen or eighteen cubits long, which is tied round in such a way as to covei* 
from ankle to the neck and sometimes up to the back part of the head. A 
short petticoat (ravika) is used there in addition, to cover the breasts; no 
such apparel is known on this coast. 

(11) And that no Brahmin woman should take a second husband. 

But the land newly reclaimed from the sea was a most inhospitable 
region to live in, being already occupied by fearful Nagas, a ra<ie of hill- 
tribes who drove the Brahmins back to their own lands. Parasiu'ama per- 
severed again and again bringing hosts of Bralimins more from every part of 
India to settle in and colonise his new land ; the Nagas were propitiated 
under his orders by a portion of the land being given to them and thus his 
own Brahmin colonists and the Nagas lived side by side witJiout molesting 
each other. And by way of conciliation and concession to the old settlers 
(Nagas) who were serpent- worshippers, Parasurama ordered his own 
colonists to adopt their form of worship, and thus serpent-worship on this 
coast early received Parasurama's sanction. These Nagas became the 
(Kiriathu) Nayars of later Malabar claiming superiority in rank and status 
over the rest of the Malayali Sudras of the west coast. 

The land was parcelled out into sixty- four villages and given to the 
Brahmin colonists with flower and water to be enjoyed as a Brnhmn- 
kahetrarn. This giving with water and flower is of the nature of an out 
and out free gift and is called the Baja-aiimim, Parasurama also 

ai6 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

brought other Sudras, to whom lie assigned the duty of cultivating the 
land and otherwise serving the Brahmin colonists. These Sudras were in 
addition to the Nayars, the early s^'ttlers, who had been conciliated and 
won over as servants and tenants as shown above. He also hroof^t 
cattle and other animals foragricultiural purposes. 

The Brahmins thus became the lords paramount of the new colony. 
It may be truly said of these Brahmin colonists of Parasurama that 
thmigh tliey Imd not the law and were a law unto tliemselves^ they were 
so good by nature that they did the things contained in the law. 
Owing allegiance to no one except to themselves and paying no taxes 
which would be indicative of the value of protection by a ruling power, 
they became the sovereign-jenmies of Keralam. But it soon transpired 
that the Brahmins wore not able to rule the land properly. 

Parasurama after consecrating the temple at Srivardhanapuram * 
brought a prince from the East Coast named Bhanuvikrama, a Soma- 
vamsa-Kshatriya, and crowned him King of Kerala at Srivardhanapuram, 
presenting him at the same time with his own sword. One of his brothers^ 
Udaya Varma, was at the same time crowned at Gokamam to rule over 

According to the Kcralolpatti, the land of Parasurama was very early 
divided into four separate Districts or Khandoms as they were called, viz., 
Tulu Khandom, from Gokarnam to Perumpuzha river. 
Kupa Khandom, from Perumpuzha to Kottah river. 
Kerala Khandom, from Putupattanam to Kannetti including the 
southern half of the Kurumbranad Taluq, Cochin and North 
Travancore, and 
Mushika Khandom, extending from Kannetti to Gape Comorin. 

Some time later, Aditya Varma, Bhanuvikrama's nephew, was 
crowned King again by Parasurama who presented him with a sword as 
bright as the sun. After peopling the land and finding kings to rule it, 
Parasurama inaugurated the military system, founded temples and ahrinea, 
laid down the achanvm or rules of conduct to his new colonists and 
instituted schools of medicine. He instituted the Mahamakham, 
Hiranyagarbham and Tulapurushadanam ceremonies and founded 
several more temples and shrines and places of pilgrimage. The origin of 

• Awonliii^ to Shniigoonny Menon, Srivanlliannpurnin is the modem town of Pa^nui- 
pf^bbApnrnin in South IVHvancorc. 

VI.] Ancient History. 217 

Himnyagarhham ceremony is thus stated: — A relative of Udaya 
Varma, King of Kola ( Kolathunad or Soutli Canara ) became a convert 
to Islam and Yfeni to Mecca where he died. As one of the females of the 
Kola family happened to perfonn the fmieral rites of the convert, the 
Brahmins excommimicated the family of Udaya Varma, whereupon 
Parasurama in consultation with sage Narada advised him to perform the 
Hiranyagarbham as an expiatory ceremony. The ceremony was per- 
formed and Udaya Varma and his family were readmitted into caste. 
The ceremony has ever since been performed by all the kings of Kerala. 
It is said that Parasurama himself performed the Hiranyagarbham and 
Tulapurtcshadanam ceremonies before he celebrated the Mahamakham, 
At this ceremony it is said the first seat was given to Kulasekhara Perumal 
(King of Travancore), and the second seat to Udaya Varma. 

The Keralolpatti then describes how certain of the Brahmins, namely 
those of the Bharadwaja gotram, received the Sastra-biksha ( alms of 
weapons) with the consent of all and having stretched out their hands 
accepted the weapons from Parasurama; how fencing schools with 
tutelary deities were established ; how the Goddess Durga was set to guard 
the sea-shore on the west and the God Sastha the Ghauts on the east, and 
also how all the sixty-four gramams having been ordered to adopt the 
law of succession through the females (Marumakkattayam), only one 
village (Payyannur) in the extreme north of Keralam obeyed. 

He afterwards established 108 fields (parade-grounds) of 42 feet square 
each, called Kalaris for purposes of drill and training in arms, and in 
each of these he placed an image of the gods who preside over arms and 
war and then lamps were lit and ptijas ordained. He also established 108 
images of Durga Devi on the sea-shore, and besides erected shrines for 
snakes and petty Devatas. Having thus ordained the temples and ceremo- 
nies, he ordered rain for six months in order " that abundance of corn,fruits, 
Ac., might be produced, that piety should flourish and wealth should be ob- 
tained, by which Iswara should be served and honoured and ptijas perform- 
ed with due respect in honour of the gods and to the ancestors, and that 
cows should increase *' ; and he ordered the sunny season for six months 
so that all the various ceremonies might be duly performed in honour of 
the gods of heaven, and the secondary deities such as Sastha or Harihara- 
putra, Bhadrakali and Ganapati. The different ceremonies so ordained 
were : — 

Oottu, — Offerings of food. 
Pattu, — Singing hymns. 

218 Thavantork Mani'al. [Chap. 

Utsavamt — Grand ceremonies. 

Vela, — The lesser ceremonies. 

Vilakku, — Lamp illuminations of the temple. 

Tiyattu, — Ceremony of running over fire. 

Bharani Vela, — Ceremony performed in the month of Kumbham 

under the Star Bharani. 
Arattu, — Carrj'ing the God in procession to a tank, and perfbnn- 

ing ablutions to it. 
Kaliyattam, — Ceremony of singing and dancing performed by 

women in honour of Bhagavati. 
Puram vela, — Ceremony perfonned in the month of Kumbham 

under the star Puram, the anniversary of the 

death of Kama or Cupid. 
Daivamattam, — Dancing in the disguise of a God. 
Tannir Amartu, — Oflfering of cakes etc., to the God, 
Talappoli, — Ceremony of women carrying raw rice and flowers 

round the temple. 
Vaikasi Visakham, and 

Mahamakham, — the grand festival of 28 days celebrated once 
in 1*2 years wlien Jupiter enters Cancer. 

** Thus in the land created by Sri Parasurauia, the Brahmins should all 
bathe at dawn of day, and live virtuously, performing religious duties, worship 
and offerings of lice to the elements at the Kshctrams or holy places and Kavus 
(or lesser tsmples), and that the sorrow and the sickness which are incidental 
to mankind might he removed from the people, they were to cause to bo perfonn- 
ed hu'ura SevahiJ (or worship to God) by- 

Hiwmrn, — Fire offering. 

Dlujamnn, — Meditation on the deity. 

Bhagavati /SVtv/, — Devotion to the goddess iihagavuti. 

rushpanjah't — Worship with llowei*s. 

Aml'-NamaKkaram, — Prostration in the evening. 

TrlhjJa'Vuja, — Worship at dawn, noon and sunset. 

Ganapati Jlomam, — Fire sacrifice to Ganapati. 

Mriiyam-Japam, — Prayer or invocation in the name of Mrityu ( or god 
of death) to avert accidents. 

Munuu Lakshi Sahaf<ra}iamamy — The ceremony of repeating of the 1,000 

names of Iswara, three lacs of times. 

Jlraliwana Suhatfra Bhojanam^ — Distrihution of victuals daily to a thou- 
sand Bnilnnins. 

Mahi^-'Miitijnm Japam, — Prayer to Mrityu " ■' 

After having ordered everything and having satisfied himself of 

• Wilson's Miickenzit? Collect ion (if Oriontnl Manuscripts. Page 311 . 

VI.] Ancient History. dl9 

the working of the various departments, Parasurama committed the 
Brahmins to the protection of Devendra, so that they should be in 
equal felicity with the inhabitants of Devalokam, and took leave of them, 
promising to them however that if anything extraordinary should happen 
and they collectively invoked his aid, he would immediately present 
himself before them. No sooner was the great hero gone, than the heads 
of the sixty-four villages wishing to test the promised word wantonly invoked 
his presence and, to their utter surprise, he presented himself before 
them and enquired what they wanted of him. But finding that he was 
invoked for no good reason , and being wroth that the Brahmins should 
have been so silly, he cursed them and said that they would never again 
unite in one place. According to tradition, the sixty-four villages have never 
met together since. Thus was the seed of dissension first sown in Kera- 
1am. According to the Puranas, Parasurama is still alive as one of 
the immortals among the Brahmin sages engaged in Tapas or penance 
on the Himalayas. He is therefore mentioned in the Puranas appearing 
agun and again at different Yugas or epochs. 

The Ferumals. After the departure of Parasurama, the Brahmins 
became the virtual rulers of the land. They divided the land into a number 
of Desavis (Cantons) and in each they erected a Kshetram, consecrated 
it and placed an image in them and performed pxija with lamps 
and with the prescribed rituals. They also established Adima 
(bondage) and Kudima (husbandry), protected ^(iiyar (slaves) and Kudiyar 
(husbandmen) and appointed Tara and Taravattukar. They then esta- 
blished the privileges of their respective stations and continued the custom 
of Kanam and Jenmam and erected houses for the Brahmins. 

They tried different systems of Government. An Oligarchy was 
tried first. Four villages namely : — ^Peryanur, Perunchallur, Parappur, 
and Chengannur were selected to represent the sixty-four villages and they 
were given authority to act in place of the whole. 

The Keralolpatti thus describes the political organisation of this 
oligarchy : * — 

"In this manner when sixty-four Gramams and twenty-one Desams were 
established, the sixty-four Gramams assembled and ordained or fixed that a 
Baksha Vurusha should be elected once in three years in order to pimish and 

** There were also appointed Nal-lulakams or four courts or assemblies at 
Panniur, Paravur, Chenganiur and Parumchellur. 

* Wilson's Mackenzie Collection. Pngc 353. 

220 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

" In order to appoint, if those Kiilakams agree or concur in the election, it 

is bullicient; so tlicy settled... 

" Besides tlie said four Kulakaius that wore established, were four Vema 
KHlakam^ or assemblies of tlie representatives of the four castes. 

1. Irungn'yani-Koda is the Brahiuana Kulakani. 

2. Muly-kolam is the Kshetriya Kulakam. 
il Paravur is the Vaisya Kulakam. 

d. Ayerani-Kolam is the Sudra Kulakam. 

" In this manner there are four Verna-kulakams or assemblies or courts re- 
presenting the four castes. 

"Besides the four Avuroila KuIaJcatns or electing assemblies at Parom- 
chellur, Panniur, Chenganiur and Paravur, the Gramams (or villages) o£ 
Jrungn'yani-koda, Muly-kolam, Paravur, and Ayerani-kolam, determined, in 
order that nothing might obstruct or interrupt the daily business on that 
account each of the said four Gramams should have a house in the viUage of 
KodangaHur which was the seat of Government. From the village of Paravur, 
from the houses of Yalam Taroti, aud Cadambanad; from these two houses they 
should keep one man in the Nifya Tahj (or chief house or palace) who should be 
Talayadt'l and rule. 

"From the village of Ayerani-kolam, from the houses of Garingumpalli and 
of Churuvulli, among these two they should keep one man in the Kit Taly 
(or lesser palace) who should be a Kil'Tala^fmhi (inferior ruler) and rule 

" In the village of Irungn'yani-koda from the houses of Muddil or of Koda- 
mangalam from these two houses, th(»y should keep one man in the Mailialif 
(or superior palace) who should be Tala'yadi'i and nile ; but no married man was 
to be appointed to the said situation ; and only old men or lx)ys on condition <rf 
remaining unmarried might be appointed till their death. 

" The sixty-four Gramams assembled thus ordered that the four Talayadri- 
mars should act unanimous and protect and punish. 

*• Among the sixty-four Gramams, ten and a half villages '•'• having taken the So* 
vwijem (or oath) and accex)ted weapons in order to protect the VritU (rites), therefore 
the said ten and a half villages are denominated Kulahitil-ullnvar (<ftSP6>(BRQiga|QiA) 
(or belonging to the Kulakam). " 

While the armed Brahinius were ruling the land, it is said disputes 
arose and injustice ensued. So the Brahmins assembled and appointed 
a Trotcctor' from each of the four villages selected, to hold office for three 
years and assign to each Protector one-sixth of all the land for the support 
of himself and his staff. This institution too did not work well and the 
people were oppressed by the Protectors, who sought to make the most 
of their opportunities during their short terms of office. So the Brahmins 
assembled at Tirunavoyy, resolved to appoint a king and empowered the 
four selected villages to choose a 'King'. Their first choice fell on 

• These were : — 

1. Paravur. 2. Muly-kolsim. y. Aycraui-kokin. 1. Wuleyuuur, ii. Cheugnnad. G. TulnTaiiadf 
7. Adaviir. S. Irangn'yaui-kod'i. !►.' AUatur. 1<). Yeifimanur aud the half CLemttmiidl 

(.Iramoiu— thu8 makiug K»|. 

VI.] Ancient History. 22i 

"Keya Perumal " of Keyapurain in the country east of the Ghauts. He 
was brought to Keralam and installed as the first of the Terumals* in the 
year of Kali Era, Bhuvian bhupoyam prapya, corresponding to a. d. 216. 
The dates in Keralolpatti and other old books are sometimes given in 
some such phrases generally appropriate in meaning and easy catchwords 
to be remembered, and which accurately represent in letters the number 
of the years or days of the Yuga referred to. The Hindu chronologist 
will read the phrase Bhxcman hhupoyam prapya thus : — 4/Bhu 5/man 
4/bhu 1/po 1/yam 2/pra 1/pya, which figure when read from the right to 
the left gives 1,211,454 days, or divided by 3<^5 days per year, 3,317 years 
of the Kali Era. Today is 5000 Kah Era. Hence according to the 
chronogram, the installation of the first Perumal was in A. D. 216. 

It was arranged that he should rule for twelve years. The Brahmins 
also made an agreement with the king thus appointed, to take an oath to 
the following effect : — "Do that which is beyond our power to do and 
protect ; when complaints happen to arise, we will settle them among 
ourselves ; you are not to question us on that point. For fomiaUty's sake 
you may ask why we deal with affairs ourselves after making you a king." 
At this day even when complaints arise, the king says : — ** Why do you 
deal with them? Why did you not make your complaint to meV 
This is on account of the original oath. They also assigned lands to the 
king and poured water and granted that land, which is called Viruthi 
and was the Eoyal demesne ; some estates they granted to him and some 
to the Brahmins themselves and some as benefices of temples to be en- 
joyed in Keralam. 

After the Keya Perumal who ruled only eight years and four months, 
came the Chola and Pandya Perumals. Then comes in a tradition of the 
king Bhutaraya Pandy Perumal, between whom and the Brahmins there 
arose a bitter enmity. He was supposed to be guarded by two spirits 
and the Brahmins not being able to compass his destruction, one of 
them, it is said, assassinated him by first winning over the services 
of the guardian spirits. From the Brahmin thus polluted by murder 
the Nambidi caste arose. There is another version which says that 
the Perumal thus assassinated was Chola Perumal. The Mahatmijavi 
says that the Pandyas invaded Kerala with an army of Bhutathans 
(spirits) and that Parasurama addressed the Bhutarajan angrily 
thus : — " Your arrival at my country is in vain. I have given it over 
to King Aditya Varma." Mr. Logan, the author of the Malabar Manuah 
says that this seems to refer to the Chola king of this name who 

222 Travancore Manual. [Cha*. 

according to present knowledge overran a large part of South India about 
494 A. D. The Bhuta army was defeated and the boundary of Kerala 
was fixed at Bhutapandi, where Parasurania is said to have accosted the 
invaders. This village of Bhutapandi lies in the extreme south of 

To prevent the king from becoming despotic, he was subordinated 
to the authority of the heads of four villages of Ernakulam, Irinjalaoode, 
Mushikakode and Parur. About this time, the northern thirty-two 
gramams seceded frijm the southern group and under the orders of the 
king, the southern gramams were re-arrangcd. The northern group living 
north of the Perumpuzha river formed the Tulu Nambis. 

Some time after, for what reasons and under what circumstances it 
is not stated, the Nambudiris brought a new king, Bana PerumaJ, from 
Banapuram in the east and installed him at Kodungalur (Cranganore). 
During his reign the Mahomedan missionaries came to his kingdom and 
explained to him the doctrines of the Bauddha-Sastram and were able to 
persuade him that it was the true faith. It is said the Perumal ^inigAl^ 
was converted. The Brahmins being much perplexed at this went to 
Tirukariur, where they remained for some time. Then by the grace of 
God, a great Kishi called Jangama came there to whom they declared 
their grievances. The Maharishi taught them the form of purificatioa 
and urged upon them to place lamps after sunset and to make Pradaksh^ 
nam round the lamps and to worship, dressed in the Tarru and the MeU 
mundUy putting on the Pavitravi and holding the Karavi-dulUf a kind of 
grass ; he also imparted to them the principal hymn in the Sama Veda» 
which consisted of four Padams ; when in this manner they daily prayed, 
six Sastries came from Paradesam, who were given an opportunity to 
discuss with the Mahomedan missionaries. It is said that these scholars 
were so successful in their disputations that, according to the texins 
agreed upon, the tongues of the discomfited Mahomedans were cut off 
and they were banished from the country. The apostate Perumal vAhu 
was called Pallibana !Perumal was set aside and was granted a separate 
estate to live in ; and anotlier Perumal being appointed in his place after 
a reign of four years, it is said, he (Bana Perumal) went to Mecca. This 
Permnal was most probably a convert to Buddhism, not Mahomedamsm, 
as the vernacular word Bauddha-viataffi may mean either Mahomedanism 
or Buddhism. The conversion here referred to must have been to 

" The next Perumal was Kulasekhara Perumal from tho Pandya country. 
He built bis palace in tho Mushika province, introduced Kshatriya families, and 

VI,] AXCIF.NT HiSTOllY. 228 

organiBed the country, it is said, into small cliieftainshipf? to protect it against the 
Uappilas. He is also credited with having introduced the study of sciences into 
the Malayah countiy, for the Malayali lirahniins were, it is said, ignorant of 

sciences up to this time Kulasekhara Perumal reigned for eighteen years 

and went to heaven with his body in the Purudismasrayam year of the KaUyuga, 
or in A. D. 833, so it is said." ■'• 

This Kulasekhara Perumal was .probably the king of Kerala, who 
lived in the Eraniel Palace in South Travancore, where exists a local 
tradition that he went Kuttodu Swargam, i. e., to heaven with his mortal 
coil. A royal bedroom with daily Puja and lights burning before a stone 
eot in the Eraniel Palace attest this fact to this day. The sovereigns of 
Travancore are to this day known as Kulasekhara Perumals. The 
Bhagavati temple at Tiruvanchikulam is said to have come into exis- 
tence in the same year. This Kulasekhara, it is also said, is the ''Kulase- 
khara Alwar", one of the Vaishnava Saints, who is said to have composed 
a portion of the Nalayira Prahandham or TirHvoy-mozhi in Tamil and 
the celebrated Mnhmda Mala in praise of God Padmanabha in 

After the reign of this Kulasekhara Perumal, the Brahmins again 
organised themselves into an arms-bearing guild in order to protect the 
country. In 428 a. u. they sent a deputation to Anagumte Krishna 
Rayart requesting him to send them a king for twelve years. But this new 
king was suffered to reign for thirty-six years and the Brahmins were so 
pleased with his rule that they wished to have a race of good Kshatriyas 
from him. Another Kshatriya, a woman, was sent for, and her two sons were 
given the kingdoms of Mushika and Tulu. About this time three women, 
one Kshatriya and two Sudras, were stranded in a boat off Mount Deli. 
The Perumal took them all to wife. This tradition relates undoubtedly to 
the northern Kolattiri family, tlie most ancient seat of this family having 
been at this particular king's house under Mount Deli. The Keralolpatti 
relates a matrimonial alliance having been formed between a prince of 
Kolattiri and a lady of the Zamorin's house. 

Mr. Logan observes: — 

** The more powerful the family of the lady was, the more likelihood there 
was of the provision for leading to the founding of a dynasty and to its semi- 
independence of the main-parent stock. It is not at all improbable therefore that 
the northern Kolattiris are descended from a matrimonial alliance between the 
last of the Kerala Perumals and a lady of the stock of the great southern feudatory, 

• The Malabar Manual, Vol. I. Page 230. 

t This reference to Krishna Raya, a king of the Vijayanagar th-nast y who flourished 1608- 
1530 A. I)., is clearly an anachronism ; it is accounts like this that tend to greatly mar the 
otherwise valuable historical truths contained in traditions. 

224 TKAVANcoiiK ^NfAxrAL. [Chap. 

the Traviiiicoro (hioiith Kolaiiiri) E:ij:iM. The two families have always ob&erved 
pollution, when cleaths occurred in their respective houses, and as a matter of 
fact the soutlieni fiuaily would have ceased ;toJ|exist long ago but for the adoption 
of heirs on several occasions from tlie northern family".* 

After this king ( Krishna Kayar's Viceroy ) had reigned for thirty-siz 
years, the country was invaded by Krishna Eayar himself or according to 
another account by a Pandya king. The last of such Perumals divided 
his kingdom among his friends and relatives. 

Such is the accoiuit given by the Keralolpatti, — a treatise, the state- 
ments in which however should be taken cu?)i granc salis, for it is only, 
after all, a collection of the best available materials known to the people 
of Malabar more than a century ago. It is not a document therefore 
which could be subjected to a severe critical scrutiny. The main incidents 
may however be relied upon. 

We find theri^- were twenty-five Perumals in all, who ruled for two 
hundred and twelve years, i. e,, from 216 a. d. to 428 A. D. During this peri- 
od, the country was ruled at short intervals by Viceroys from the Chera, 
Pandya and Chola kingdoms, appointed by turns by whichever power was 
most influential at the time of the appointment. The first and last Peru- 
mals bear one connnon name, Cheraman Perumal, though they are also 
specifically known as Cheraman Keralan and Bhaskara Bavi Varma. 
According to other accounts, Cheraman Perumal was more a title than a 
name, and was applied to all the Perumals alike. 

No clear indentification of the Perumals or of their dates seems to be 
possible. The Perumals are spoken of in certain places as viceroys and 
in others as independent kings. Shungoonny Menon, the historian of 
Travancore, makes the two sets of Perumals co-exist. He says that 
Vira Kerala Varma, who w\as crowned in 311 a. d., as the first Emperor 
of Keralam, closed his earthly career during the viceroyalty of Cheraman 
Perumal. According to the Keralolpatti, Keya Perumal began to rule in 
21 A. D. , and the last Perumal died in 428 a. T). Thus in the middle of 
the so-called Perumal period (210 — 428 a. d. ), comes this "Emperor of 
Keralam" who performed Tulapurit!>hadanavi and Hiranyagarbham and 
obtained the title of Kulasekhara Perumal. If there were two Perumals 
all along, it is not clear whose viceroys were the superior Perumals and 
whose the inferior Perumals. Mr . Logan does not believe in the two 
sets of Perumals. 

^Tlio Miil.-il.iir Maininl. Vol. I. Pn^<' 23.5. 

VI.] Ancient History, 226 

Mr. Logan assuming that the Pei'unial period lasted till 825 a. d., 
makes a Cheraman Perumal (the last) a Mahomedan, and gives the inscrip- 
tion on his tomb in Arabia where he is said to have died while returning 
from Mecca. In support of this statement he writes : — " It is a note- 
worthy circumstance in this connection that even now-a-days that Travan- 
core Maharajas on receiving the sword at their coronations have still 
to declare: — "I will keep this sword until the uncle who has gone to 
Mecca returns". This statement, founded as it is on Mateer's Native 
life in Travancore, is clearly incorrect. The Travancore Maharajahs 
have never made any such declaration at their coronations, w^hen they 
received the sword of State from God Sri Padmanabha. The Valia Koil 
Tampuran (M. E. Ey. Kerala Varma Avl. , C. S. I.) writing to His High- 
ness the present Maharajah some years ago received the following reply 
dated 10th April 1891 : — " I do not know where Mr. Logan got this inform- 
ation ; but no such declaration as mentioned in the Malabar Manual 
was made by me when I received the State Sword at Sri Padmanabha 
Swamy's Pagoda. I have not heard of any such declaration having been 
made by former Maharajahs." 

Mr. K. P. Padmanabha Menon in a recent article in the Malabar 
Quarterly Revietv, denies the statement that the last of the Cheraman 
Perumals became a convert to Islam or undertook a pilgx-image to Mecca, 
but beheves that he lived and died a devout Hindu. The legend is evi- 
dently the result of the mixing up of the early Buddhistic conversion of 
Bana, one of the Perumals, and of the much later Mahomedan conversion 
of one of the Zamorin Rajahs of Calicut, who claimed to have derived his 
authority from the last Perumal. The Hindu account simply states that 
Cheraman Perumal after the distribution of the Empire among his 
friends, vassals and dependants, went to Mecca on a pilgrimage and died 
there a Mahomedan saint. The Mahomedan account embodied in the 
Keralolpatti narrates that after the distribution of his kingdom, the 
Perumal secretly embarked on board a Moorish vessel from Cranganore, 
and cleverly eluding his pursuers landed at Sahar Mukhal in the Arabian 
coast, that he had an interview with the Prophet then in his 57th year, 
and was ordained by him under the name of Thia-uj-tiddien — * the crown 
of the faith/ , that he married Regiat the sister of the Arabian king and 
after having lived happily for five years, undertook a journey to Malabar for 
the spread of Islam, but died of ague at Sahar Mukhal where his remains 
were interred in a mosque he had himself erected. The history of 
Zeiruddeen Mukkadom, an Arab Egyptian and a subject of the Turkish 
Empire of the IStli Century, says that certain dervishes from Arabia on 

226 TiJAVAxronK Mantal. [Chap. 

their way fiom Aclam*js Peak in Ceylon touched at f'ranganore and im- 
parted to the Enipero!' the tlien I'ecent miracle of Mahomed having 
divided the moon, that the Emperor was so affected by that instance of 
supernatural power and captivated by the fervid representations of those 
enthusiasts that he abandoned all, for the sake of proceeding with them 
to Arabia to have an opportunity of conversing with the Prophet, that 
the latter dignified him with the title of Sultan or Tauje ul Herid and 
that after sojourning with the Prophet for some time and addressing 
recommendatory letters to the Chiefs of Malabar in favour of his Mussal- 
man brethren, he died on his way to his own land on the first day of the 
5th year of the Hejira (JGth July G22 a. d.). *^ 

Sheikh Zinuddin, the author of the Tahafat-ul-Mitjahidin, says that 
there is but little truth in the account of the PerumaVs conversion to 
Islam. The Arab merchant, Suliman (851 a. i>.), *' who wrote with know- 
ledge as he evidently visited the countries he wrote about '*, says expressly 
that in Malabar he did not know any one of eitlier nation (Chinese or 
Indian) that had embraced Mahonjcdanism or spoken Arabic. None of 
the early travellers or geographers whether Mahomcdan, Christian or Jew 
have left us any record of the legend. Abdur Kazzak who was sent in 1442 
A. D. by the Shah of Persia failed in his mission of converting the 
Zamorin. He too does not mention the legend at all. Mr. Logan 
says: — '*At Zaphar in the Arabian Coast lies buried Abdul 
Ilahiman Samuri, a king of Malabar. The inscription on his tombstone 
fiays that he arrived at the place in 212 A. H. and there died 216 A. H. 
(828 A. D.) ". This statement is founded upon news given by an 
Arab merchant and Mr. Logan seems to believe that this may be 
the last Cheraman l^erumal. As Mr. Padmanabha Menon observes, " it 
is not correct to accept the unverified statement of an irresponsible Arab 
merchant to prove the existence of the Perumal's tomb and the alleged 
inscription on it ". The Mahomedan historian Ferishta has no doubt as 
to the Malabar king who embraced Islamism and says that a Zamorin 
turned IVIahomedan and undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Zamorins 
have frec^uently been confounded with the Perumals. Other accounts 
go to show that the Perumal turned a Buddhist, a Jaina or Saivite. Shung- 
oonny Meiion says: — "The last Cheraman Perumal closed liis worldly 
career at Tiruvanchikulam ; the traditional account is that he disappeared 
suddenly from his residenc<'". \n tht^ *Vellanai Sargam\ Ptniya Purananit 

' Asiai.ic Uesi*niTlu»H. \ ol. V Art. 1. But in the Madmn journni of Lit^ruturo and Sciinioc, 
i"*. fs. No. 20 Tii^o Or>, ii i.; st;it;vl that Zcirii'ldt"*!! Miikkadnni «l»'rio»in<*<»B tlio mory of tbe 
piliriiiimiT'^ to Mo -cu n^ uiif«nMnl«Ml 

VL] Ancient History. 327 

the last of the legends refers to the mysterious disappearance of a Chera 
Prince from the Capital. It is stated that the Saiva saint Sundarar 
departed from the earth, ascended the celestial elephant which waited 
upon him and started on his travels to the abode of the celestials, without 
even taking leave of his Eoyal friend. Tha latter unable to bear the 
separation mounted on his steed and uttered a mantra in its ears, which 
enabled it to ascend in the air and overtake the Paradisiacal pachyderm. 
The minister and generals beholding the miraculous scene shook off their 
mortal coils and followed the king. * 

According to one account, Cheraman Perumal had three wives and had 
sons and nephews seventeen in number, and is said to have handed over 
the charge of Travancore to his eldest son by his third wife, one Vira Kerala 
Yarma who was installed as king in Kali year 3412 * or 311 a. d., and 
the other places up to Gokarnam to his other sons and nephews. Tliis 
Vira Kerala Varma had an only sister, whose sons succeeded to the 
musnud of Travancoj'e after him. Vira Kerala Varma was the first 
sovereign of Travancore who celebjated the Tulapurmhadanam ceremony 
or the weighing against gold, which gold was subsequently distributed 
among Brahmins. Pachu Muthathu, another writer on Travancore, says 
that the kingdom of Travancore was established under the auspices of 
Cheraman Perumal, w^hich kingdom was bounded on the north by Edawa, 
east by the I*annivoykal and on the south and west by sea. But evidence 
exists to show that Travancore was under a ruling Piince at the time of the 
advent of the Perumals and that Cheraman Perumal was the name of the 
Viceroy sent out to Keralam or South Chera by the King of Chera him- 
self. It will be found from the Keralolpatti that the Travancore and 
Kolathunad dynasties were in existence during the rule of these Chera- 
mans and that they had recognised them. The ancient copper-plate 
grants to the Christians \ and Jews, which were made by three of the 
Cheraman Perumals, including the last Perumal, Bliaskara Eavi Varma, 
show that the Perumals considered the King of Travancore the first 
sovereign in Keralam so much so that he was mentioned as the first 
power to witness their deeds. One of them, Stanu Kavi Gupta, even 
goes the length of saying that the deed was executed wuth the sanction 
of the Travancore king. One of these deeds was executed in Kali 3331, cor- 
responding to A. D. 230, i. e., fourteen years after the commencement of the 
Perumal period. Hence the statement regarding the division of Kerala 
by the last Perumal is without foundation. As Dr. Gundert remarks : — 

* IVof. Suudaraiii Pillay iu tlic Indian Autiquury for May 181)7. 

X The chronogram j^ivea Eyya hlv^j'im whic!i iy traiiblitoratt'd into Kuli year 3il2» 

228 Travaxcore Manual. [Chap. 

*'That whole part of the Keralolpatti in which the present dynasties of Mala- 
yalam are represented as dating their origin from tlie last Perumars distribution 
of tlie country is fully disproved by this and the Jewish document ; and the rela- 
tion of the Kerala Mahatmyaui, according to which several families were placed 
here and there by Parasurama for the purpose of protecting certain temples and 
Brahmin villages, comes much nearer the truth if we undei*stand by Parasurama 
the old time of Brahminical rule." 

From the conflicting accounts of Cheraman Perumals and Kula- 
sekliara l^erumals appearing simultaneously in all the authorities on the 
ancient history of Kerala , one fact may be certainly inferred viz. , that 
the Kulasekhara Perumals , whose modern representatives the Travan- 
core Maharajahs arc , did not owe their kingdom to the last Cheraman 
Perumal who died in 428 a. d., and who is said to have partitioned 
his kingdom among his sons , nephews and dependants . The weight 
of evidence goes to prove that the Kulasckhara Perumals who ruled 
the southern portion of Kerala existed , if not from the fu'st day of the 
installation of the fii'st Cheraman Perumal, at any rate as soon as the 
rule of the Cheraman Periunals was established in Keralam. The Kula- 
sckhara Perumals rose to such importance during the Perumal period 
in Malabar that they were asked to attest documents aud grants made 
by the Cheramans themselves , and on one occasion the Cheraman Peru- 
mal of the day was invited as a guest to witness the Hiranyagarbham 
and Tulapurushadannm ceremonies of one of the Kulasekham Perumals 
in South Kerala. It is quite possible that in the never-ending wars of 
those days between neighbouring powers , Chera , Chola and Pandya Kings 
might have by turns appointed Viceroys of their own to rule over the 
different divisions of Chera, one of whom might have stuck to the 
southernmost portion , called differently at different times , by the names 
of Mushika-Khandom, Kupa-Khandom, Venad, Tiruppapur, Tiru-adi- 
desam or Tiruvitancode, at first as an ally or tributary of the senior 
Cheraman Perumal — titular emperor of the whole of Chera — but subse- 
quently as an independent ruler himself. This is the history of the 
whole of India during the time of the early Hindu kings or imder the 
Moghul ]^jmpire. The history of every district in Southern India bears 
testimony to a similar state of affairs. The Nawab of Tinnevelly was 
nominally the agent of the Nawab of Arcot, who was himself ruling the 
Carnatic in the name of the Delhi Padisha ; but beyond a mere name 
there was nothing in the relationship showing real obedience to a graded 
or central Imperial authority. The Nawab of Tinnevelly himself co- 
existed with scores of independent Poligai's all ovei- the District, collecting 
their own taxes, building their own forts, levying and drilling their own 

VI-l Ancient History. 220 

troops of war, their chief recreation consisting in the plundering of 
innocent ryots all over the coiintj*y or molesting their neighbouring Poli- 
gars. The same story was repeated throughout all the States under the 
Great Moghul. In fact never before in the histoi-y of India has there 
been one dominion for the whole of the Indian continent from the 
Himalibyas to the Cape, guided by one policy, owing allegiance to one 
sovereign-power and animated by one feeling of patriotism to a common 
country, as has been seen since the consolidation of the British power in 
India a hundi-ed years ago. ** It is the power of the British sword, " as 
has been well observed, " which secures to the people of India the great 
blessings of peace and order which were unknown through many weary 
centuries of tuimoil, bloodshed and pillage b(^i'ore the advent of the 
Briton in India'*. Neither according to tradition nor in recorded history 
has such a phenomenon been known before. Tlie ancient e})ics of India 
often speak of the kings of fifty-six Rajijanis ^^ (States) having been invited 
for the Swayamvara marriages of Kshatriya ladies or to witness the 
great sacrifices such as the Bajasufja ni or thti Aswafrndha-yagam of Yudhi- 
shtira. These fifty-six rulers evidently were the Rajahs of note in those 
days ; but to my mind there must have been at the time at least two 
thousand Princes t throughout the Indian continent more or less indepen- 
dent of each other and ruling over small States aggregating in the main the 
area embraced by the British Indian Empire of today. In this wise, the 
existence of a ra<je of Kulasekhara Permnals in independent sway over 
South Kerala may be taken as an undoubted historical fact. 

The antiquity of Keralam. Keralam was knovm to the Aryans 
from very ancient days. The age of Kerala is difficult to determine, but 
that it is as old as any of the Puranic kingdoms referred to in the ancient 
Indian epics is undoubtedly established. After Rama and Sugriva (the 
monkey king) became friends, the latter sent his emissaries in quest 

• These 66 Kingdoms were : — 

1. Casmira. 2. Nepala. 3. KuHala. 4. Cauiboja. o. PaucLala. 6. Sinihala. 7. Auga. 
H. Kaliuga. 9. Kamarupa. 10. Sauvira. 11. Kui-oo. 12. Bhoja. 13. Videha. 14. 
Valraika. 15. Kekaya. 10. Vanga. 17. Sounishtni. 18. ]*uunadaga. 29. Parpara. 
20. Kuluntba. 21. Suraseiia. 22. Daugaua. 23. Martha. 24. Saiiidhava. 2o. Pura- 
fihara. 26. Pandhara. 27. Saliva. 28. Kudaka. 29. Nishadha. 30. Thoorka. 31. 
Durga. 32. Marda. 33. Poimdra. 34. Magadha. 35. Chedi. 36. Maharashtra. 37. 
Gandhara. 38. Karuataka. 39. Dravida. 40. Kukkada. 41. Lata. 42. Malava. 43. 
Magara. 44. Daeama. 45. Ottiya. 46. Bachu. 47. Yavaua. 48. Baguvane. 49. 
Konkana. 50, Kashyva. 51. Duugana. 52. Latcha. 53. Chola. 54. Pandya. 55. 
Chera. 56. Kerala. 

X Mr. M. M. Kunto in his admirable Essay on 'The vicissitudes of Aryan ciWlization in 
India' remarks, " The general tendency of the Ksliatriyas was to develop into princes, whoso 
right to the throne was hereditary. But a pnnce might own only u castle, some land for 
pasturage, a number of cattle, and yome followorx, and iin'pbt rule over a few mih»« only. 
Every Kshatriya wufi a Kaja *'. 

280 TiiAVANcuKt: Manl-al. [Chap. 

of Sita, Kama's lost qiieuii, to soaicli all over India and Ceylon. Keralam 
or Chera, as it was then called, was one of the kingdoms included in 
thai search. Sugriva connnanded liis messengers, says Valmiki, 

** Seek and sLMich the ^oiitbeni rt'^^ioiis, rock iuid ravine, wood and tree. 

Search the cinpii'c of the Andlinis. of tlu; sister nations three, 
Cliolas, CJrjnis uiul the Pandyas dwelling hy the southern sea," t 

Again Mahendragiri. ii lofty peak in the extreme south of Tra- 
vancore (Thaiits is reiei red to in tlie liamayana as the point of the 
mountain iVom which Hanuman jumped over to Lanka. The Bamayana 
is estinrated hy scholars to he al)out ^iOUO years old, but the exploits of 
Rama were surely of an earlier date. In popular estimation they are 
several thousand years older. In the Mahabharata too, which Puranais 
said to l)e an earlier * (Composition than the Kamayana, mention is made 
of Balarama'K i Balahhadrarama or Kama of the plough) tours to the sacred 
shiiiies of Cape Comorin and Janardanam (modern Varkala), both 
situated in modern Travancore. The rnler of Kerala was one of the kings 
conquered hy Sahadeva long before the (ughteen days' war of the J3/ia- 
rafa-yuflhaw ; the Mahahharata also refers to the inhabitants of Kerala 
as "forest-dwellers'". In the Harivamsa, a section of the Mahabharata, 
mention is made of the Cholas and Keralas. Another episode related in 
the Mahahharata is that of Vishaya and Chandrahasa, son of a Kerala 
king and rulei* of Kuntala which is situated in the furthest extremity of 
the Deccan, in the country where camphor is collected. Again in the fourth 
book of Kalidasii's liaf/hucamsa (a book quite as old as the Christian Era), 
jeference is made to a conquering tour by Kaghu, remote ancestor of 
Kama, who is said to have passed from Oudh down the eastern coa«t to 
the country of the Pandyas and then returned north by Keralam and the 
west coast. Keralam is also mentioned in the Vayu, the Matsya and the 
Markandeya ]\nanas and in iho J.>hagavata, the Vadma and tlie Skanda 
Turanas. Some c^f the remarkable vegetable and animal productions of 
the Malabar Coast have been known to the western nations even at so 
early a i)eriod as the time of Solomon ( 1000 n. c. ). In the Old Testa^ 
ment we find the following: — **K()r the king had at sea a navy of 
Tarshish bringing gold and silvei*, ivory and apes and peacocks"; wath the 
exception perhaps of silver, these w ere all productions of the Malabar Coast 
and the biblical name for peacock, ttiki, is evidently the Tamil - Mala3ra- 
1am, tokai, the bird of the tail. Again Herodotus mentions that the Ked 

f Kamavaim W. ('. J>utt. 

Till' r-uiiirii'.»n lirli-l' i.^; iliai \.\ir MaJuiMmraUi i- lahT iliaii ilio Uuinayuiia, Init tlio 
opiniuu of Uiiiutal -.cln'lar.- i? •»! hnw i.-<- - ami tliat i> lln- ouv ivli<.'»l uikhi in ihc Icxl, 

VI.] Anciknt HistorV. 281 

Sea trade in frankincense, myrrh and cinnamon and cassia ( the two latter 
being Malahar products) was in the hands of the Egypt ians and the 

Kerala was also known to Katyayana (1st half of the 4th century 
B. c . ) and Patanjali ( 150 b. c. ) , though Panini (beginning of the 7th ^• 
century B. c. ) does not mention it. The second and the thirteenth 
edicts of Asoka, which were promulgated in the 3rd century b. c, refer 
to the realms of Keralaputra . Strabo in 20 a. d. gives an account of an 
embassy sent by the Pandyan rnler probably from the west coast, to the 
Emperor Augustus. There is no doubt of the fact that Koman gold poured 
largely into the country at this time. In the coin collection of the 
Maharajah's palace at Trivandrum, three are 9 Aurei of Augustus* 
coinage, 28 of Tiberius, 2 of Caligula, IG of Claudius, and If) of Nero. 
Bishop Caldwell writes : — 

** The earliest Boman coins found in India are those of the Emperor Augustus. 
A large number of Roman Imperial am'tu' (gold coins) were found some 
years ago on the Malabar coast ; upwards of thirty types of which, commencing 
with the earlier coins of Augustus and including some of Nero, were described by 
me in a paper printed at Trivandnim in 1851 by the Maharaja of Travancore. to 
whom the coins belonged . " * 

Pliny (1st century a. d.) refers to the ruler of Kerala as Calabothros, 
and mentions Muziris (identified by Dr. Caldwell wuth Cranganore) as 
his capital. Ptolemy and the author of Periplus also refer to Kerabothros; 
Periplus refers to the land of Kerobothros as Limurike, and Ptolemy (2nd 
century a. d.) mentions Karoura as the capital of Limurike, which 
Dr. Caldwell shows to represent the Tamil-Malayalam country. They also 
mention a district called Paralia on the west coast of India, which Pro- 
fessor Wilson takes to be probably a wrong rendering of Keralia. Burnell 
and Yule agree in identifying Paralia with Purali, the old name for Tra- 
vancore, from which the Travancore kings have got the title Puralisa i. e., 
the lord of Purali. Again towards the end of the 4th century a. d., Kerala 
is referred to in the famous Gupta inscription on the Allahabad Lat of 
Asoka, where Samudragupta is mentioned as capturing and reducing Man- 
tara, King of Kerala. Varaha Mihira, the great Hindu astronomer (who 
Hved about the year 550 a. d.) notices in his Brihatsajiihita both the 
country and the people by the names of Kerala and Kairalakas, and men- 
tions Baladevapattanam and Marichipattanam as important towns in 
Kerala. Kern, Varaha Mihira's translator, identifies these places with 

t Tin's is ncrordinfi: to Prof. Goldstiiokt^r. But Profopsors Bohtliiijr, Wob(»r and K5rsr<"Hnf' 
aaeign to Panini the 4th century B. v. 

* History of Tinnovellv. Pngro 22. 

232 'rnAVAXcoiiK Manuat.. [Chap, 

the Baliapattana and the Mnzii is of Ptolemy and othor Greek geographers 
respectively. It is flhown from th(i insciiptions and copper-plate documents 
of tl)e Western Chalukya dynasty that ahnost for live hundred years after 
this, the Chalukyan kings made temporary conquests of Kerala. In the 
Mahakuta inscription of Mangalesa (567 to 610 a. dJ, we are told of the 
victories of his predecessor Kirti Varma I (489 to 667 A. D.) over the kings 
of Kerala, Mushaka +&c ., which Mushaka is identified by Professor Monier 
Williams with that part of the Malabar coast lying between Qoilon 
and Cape Comorin. Again Pulakesi II (610-634 A. D.), after conquering 
Kanchipura, invaded the country of the Cholas, the Pandyas and the 
Keralas and defeated them. Vinayaditya, grandson of Pulakesi m the 
11th and 1 4th years of his reign, (692 — 695 A. d), completely subjugated 
the Keralas in the South. S Vinayaditya's grandson, Vikramaditya 11 
(whose reign according to Dr. Burnell began in A. d. 733), claims to have 
fought with the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Keralas, and reduced them. 
By the grant dated 758 A. n. of Kirti Varma II, son of Vikramaditya, 
we see that he resided at a place called Jayamambha situated on the 
shore of the southern ocean, after " withering up Pandya, Chola, Kerala, 
Kalbhra and other kings •■ . " 

A certain king called Govinda VI of the Eashtrakuta dynasty claims 
to have concjuered the Keralas. He; reigned about A. D. 803 to 814-16*. 
Again Bilhana in his Vikrama Deva Charitam says, that Vikrama, who 
reigned between 1008 and 1018 a. d. , first marched against the Keralas 
and conquered them. 

Early European and Mahouicdan travellers give also accounts of 
Keralam and its people. 

The Phoenicians visited the coast of Malabar in 1(KX) B. c. in quest of 
ivory, sandalwood and spices. 

The Greek ambassador Megasthenes in his account of ancient India 
refers to the Nayars of Malabar and the kingdom of Chera. He also 
speaks of the fact that female sovereigns ruled the southern people. 

Eratosthenes, who lived in the 3rd century B. C, is the first foreign 
writer who mentions Cape Comorin. 

St. Thomas one of the Apostles came to preach the Gospel in Mala- 
bar in 52 A. D. 

t Indian Antiquary, Vol. XIX. Page 7. 
§Ibid V(»l. VII. PHjrc209. 
r Ibid Vol. VII. Pnja*5i3. 
* Ibid Vol. II. Pntro 61 . 

VI.] Ancient History. aSS 

Kona Thoma (Thomas Cana ) a missionary, is said to have visited the 
coast in 345 A. T>. 

Zera Jabus, the Nestoriau Patriarch who died in 660 A. D., speaks of 
Quilon and in 824 a. d., two Nestorian Persians settled in Qiiilon with a 
large following. 

Omitting details of accounts on tlie later history of Travancore of 
which due mention will be made in the next section of this chapter, these 
Inferences will, I think, suffice to show an almost imbroken chain of author- 
ities proving the antiquity of Kerala. 

As regai'ds native chronology, said to be so proverbially inaccurate, it 
need only be stated that local traditions of the oldest portion of Chera 
Mandala or Scuth Travancore make the Dravidian dynasty of that coun- 
try coeval with the origin of the world. Tradition apart, according to 
Eev. William Taylor, the nearest conjecture that can be formed regard- 
ing the age of Parasurama is that he lived some time within the 
thousandth year after the flood. He thinks that there must have been a 
great retiring of the mass of waters from the Northern Hemisphere 
during the period within 500 to 1,000 years after the flood, and a 
similar retiring of waters must have taken place at the same time 
in tlie west coast also, the low lands of which had evidently been 
mised from beneath the sea-level by subterranean forces. + 

The Sanskrit Puranic writers and the Ceylon Buddhists and the local 
Iniditions of the west coast, all indicate in different ways a great dis- 
turbance on the point of the Peninsula and Ceylon within recent times. 
The date of Noah's deluge has been given by English theologians as 2348 
B. c, and that given by Ceylon Buddhists to the latest submergence in the 
region of Ceylon is 2387 B. c. The two results could not have been hit at by 
mutual knowledge. So according to Eev. Taylor, the latest date of 
Parasumma's reclamation of Kerala viill be about 4,200 years ago. Even 
this of course is too recent a date in the estimation of orthodox Hindu 

Hindu scholars incline to the belief that the Vedic Aryans must 
have had a wonderful era of peace and security from foreign aggression for 
about 5,000 * years before the invasion of India by Alexander of Macedon. 
This gives a period of about 7,600 years to the first Aryan colonisation in 
the north-west of India. It appears to me that western scholars often 

t Tranalfttione of Hiatorical Manuscripts, Vol IT. Page 66. 
* Address by Mr. M. Rangachar}'ft M. a. on Mndian Loyalty.' 


284 Thavancokk Manual. [Chap. 

err in their calculations about Hindu dates, relying solely on copper*plate 
documents and stone-inscriptions, as if the peopling of a kingdom or a 
continent went only pari jxissu \\'it]i such symbols of later civilisation as 
copper-plates or stone-inscriptions. If we note the marvellous progress in 
the colonisation of America since its discovery by Columbus in 1492 A. D., 
which period of about 400 years is only a speck of time according to all 
known calculations of Hindu clu'onologists, and if we also note how quickly 
population hab pressed and squeezed itself within the last half a 
century into all available nooks and corners of India in the mad desire 
to possess land, making one fear that one's grand-children may scarcely 
have elbow-room to stand upon, it is not a bold statement to make tliat 
within a thousand years after the first Aryan set his foot in the Punjab, 
^he whole continent from the Himalayas to the Cape must have been 
more or less peopled. The fact has nothing to do with the dates when 
the oldest Indian Epics were written or when the feats of Bama and 
Krishna recorded therein took place. I would therefore give Kerala an 
age of about 6,500 ^ years at least — an inference which should incline one 
to a greater belief in the oral traditions extant than in the learned deduct* 
ions of scholars. 

Concluding remarks. It is not at present possible to say how 
much of the foregoing narrative may be relied upon as perfectly authentic 
The following fa<;ts however are generally accepted. 

The land of Kerala was within historic period reclaimed from the 
sea ; probably the upheaval was due to volcanic action. The Keralolpatti 
mentions the quaking and shaking of the land and the quaking is said to 
have been stopped by Parasurama's divine powers. Apart from the legend 
that surrounds the great Brahmin hero, Parasurama was undoubtedly the 
leader of the earhest Aryan colony into South West India. 

He created a separate military caste from among his Bi-ahmin colo- 
nists and ordained them to rule his new land ; when they found they could 
not, he helped them to secure one or two Kshatriya rulers from the other 
coast. The necessity for division of labour, which all authorities agree 
was the main basis of the caste distinctions in India, thus showed itself 
in ancient Kerala as it did more clearly in later times. There was evi- 
dently good authority for Parasurama's Brahmins receiving instruction 

+ The age of Kerala hei-eiu fixed is, if at all. far below the mark, for a Nambudiri friend 
of mine 76 years old and a well-known Adhyan of Vaikam Talu<| in North Traraneot« tells ne 
that his niam has Mtood thoni for uljout 2,000 years. Tliey had ori^nally settled near 
Guruvayur before they came to Vaikam and he cannot say how lonjc they were there. Thu 
it is clear that tlio peopling: of Kerala could not have boeu on this Hide of "({ 600 venw. 

VI, ] Ancient History. 886 

in the arts of war and bearing arms, **if we only remember the fact that 
both Viswamitra and Jamadagni were Vedic Rishis ; and they bore arms 
and composed hymns, when Kshatriyas and Brahmins, as such, were 
unknown." As Mr. R. C. Dutt observes, a great historical truth under- 
lies the story of Parasm*ama killing whole families of Kshatriyas, thus 
confirming the spirit of rivalry which seems to have existed from times 
of yore between the priestly and the warrior classes, the fh-st indications 
of which are observable even in the Upanishads.* 

After Parasurama, the Brahmin colonists tried several devices at 
government. At first a form of republic among themselves was adopted, 
then an oligarchy, then a rule of elected Protectors chosen from four of 
the premier villages, then a series of foreign princes known as Cheraman 
Perumals brought to rule over them for cycles of twelve years ; and then 
a permanent ruler was made of the last Cheraman Perumal so brought, 
before whose time, however, had alread}^ come into existence the race of 
Kulasekhara Perumals in Travancore. 

The Aryan invaders from the north-west of India had by this time 
advanced considerably into the interior parts of the Peninsula, migrating 
into distant Kerala also where they had mingled vrith the first Dravidian 
inhabitants of the east coast. But these Dravidians themselves had 
already come under the influence of the serpent-worshippers of the 

Then came the Jaina and the Buddhistic waves of evangeUsation, 
that have left lasting traces all over South India. There are Buddhistic 
temples in Travancore, now converted into Hindu places of worship. 
Buddhism itself having been entirely absorbed by the Brahmins into their 
own faith. At a much earher date the Brahmins had peopled Keralam 
and acquired sovereign powers there, as they did in all the other places of 
the continent they had passed through. 

Next came the gigantic Saivite movement propagated by the Tamil 
saints and latterly by Sri Sankaracharya himself. Lastly came the early 
Christians and the followers of Mahomet. These successive waves of 
reUgious colonisation probably account for the different versions given of 
the conversion of one of the Cheraman Permnals, for every proselytising 
reUgion was responsible then, as now, not only for the quantity of its con- 
versions but for the quality as well of its converts — by which standard 
was often judged the value of the work done by its propagandists. But 

• Ancient India, Vol. 1. Pago 212. 

286 TKAV.\N(oin: Mam'ai.. [Chah. 

Hinduism ib still the dominant faith in Travancuiv, in .s[>itt' ol* its being 
the only maRs matei-ial in tlio country for the promulpfators of the different 
reh^ous pci'suasions to work upon. 

The law of nepotism, tlie system of hierarchy well dertned, the per- 
fect cleanliness of the places of worsliip and llie rigidity of the caste-scruples 
(>l)served in them, the peculiar institution of marriage allowing consider- 
able freedom to hotli parties in the clioice and change of pnitners, the 
superior educational status of th(» woukh. the scrupulous neatness and 
attention paid to all matters of ])ersonal hygiene by the true Malayali 
population, the proud Jenmi-tenure of the Ihahnn'ns, the living in isolated 
iininesteads with extensive premises romid them, respect to elders and to 
authority more formally expressed, less loquaciousness as a race, the front 
tuft, the wearing of the cloth and the natun*. of the cloth itself both among 
men and women, the altered laugiuige and scores of different Ackarams, 
are aU landmarks still distinguishing the colonists of Parasurama from the 
inhabitants of the old country beyond the Ghauts. 

f.l Early History. 287 

Section B — Early History. 

" tikMty, which kr, ittdeed, httle m(jitc Chan the register of the crimes, follies and mirtfor- 
168 of mankind," 


Part I (up to 1100 a. d.). 

It has already been shown that Travancore is a very ancient king- 
)in. Its early history as narrated in this section comprises a period of 
)0u{ twenty centuries ; but owing to meagreness of material this period is 
iissed under a rapid review leaving it to the future historian to compile 
ftdlet account as the researclies into Epigraphy and other sources make 

From early times India carried on an extensive foreign trade and the 
alabar coast from Gokarnam to Cape Comorin, with its rivers and its 
land communications by the lagoons which run parallel to the coast- 
\e, was a convenient destination for the small vessels which crossed from 
le Arabian or African shore in search of the pepper, the spices and the 
ory to be obtained here. At this early period Indian merchants sailed 
' Arabia and China and it is said that Hindu colonies were planted in 
trica and Arabia and that a powerful Hindu empire arose in Java 
id the Spice Islands. Mr. Kennedy is of opinion that the ttien who 
lus sailed from India were the Dravidians of the south and were not 
16 Aryan immigrants from the north. 

The Easiest Traders (b. c. 1000—300). The Phoenicians visited 
e coast of Malabar about 1000 B. c, in search of ivory, sandalwood 
td spices. I'hey were the first intermediaries between the East and 
:e West. Even before 1000 b. c, they were the sole masters of the 
Mediterranean and had founded colonies on the Atlantic coast and in 
ritain. The Jews on the east coast of the Mediterranean early noticed 
le enormous profits made by their neighbours (the Phoenicians) and 
ished to emulate their successes. For this purpose, commercial treaties 
3re entered into between Hiram, king of Tyre, and Kings David and 
)lomon. About 1000 b. c, Solomon, King of Israel, fitted out a commer- 
il fleet manned by the Phoenicians to Tarshish and Ophir. Dr. Bumell 
inks that the last mentioned place (Ophir) should be somewhere in 
alabar or Travancore. This is most probably the sea-coast village of 

288 Tbvvancoke Manual. [Chap. 

Puvar in the Neyyattinkara Taluq, now the seat of a large Mahomedan 
population, partly a fishing but mostly a trading one. Some of the 
articles carried by Solomon's ships from Malabar were peacocks, sandal- 
wood, gold, ivory and apes. The Phoenicians had the monopoly of the 
eastern trade from these early times until the destruction of Tyre by Alex- 
ander in b. c. 332. Their ships sailed from Malabar with Indian articles 
to a port in the southern part of the Eed Sea whence they were 
conveyed by land to Phinoculara, the port on the Mediterranean nearest to 
the Ked Sea. From this place goods were re-shipped to Tyre and then 
distributed to the Phoenician trading centres.'* The port which they 
frequented on the Malabar coast was probably Cranganore.* 

" There is al^undant reason to suppose that the early Hindoos were not alto- 
gether disinclined to a seafaring life and that the aversion they now evince is 
only a later development fostered by the influence of Brahminism. Jadging 
from the traces of colonies in Arabia and elsewhere and especially in the island of 
Socottra at the moutli of the Gulf of Aden, we are constmned to conclude that 
the Hindoos had at an early period of their existence sailed out of India and form- 
ed settlements at distant places. The Malayalees themselves seemed to have 
formed colonies in Arabia, and Strabo (about a. d. 20) mentions an hereditary 
caste division in Arabia Fehx, as well as a commimity of property and women in 
the several famiUes quite simih\r to those of the Nairs of Malabar." I 

In the time of Herodotus (484 — 413 li. c), the trade with India was 
in the hands of the Egyptians and the Phoenicians. About 600 B. c, 
Scylax, a Greek sent by Darius, had voyaged home by sea from the 
mouth of the Indus. 

Early Greek Accounts (SOOu.c— 150 a. d.). Megasthenea (306 — 
289 n. ('.), the Greek ambassador of the Grecko-Bactrian kingdom at the 
court of Chandragupta, writes in his description of Ancient India, 
** Next follow the Narce enclosed by the loftiest of the Indian mountains, 

Capitalia The poorer king of the Cliarma' has but GO elephants, 

and his force is otherwise insignificant." According to Wigram, Mega- 
sthenes' Nara*^ refers to the Kayars of Malabar, Capitalia is the Camel's 
Hmnp wliich is G,000 feet in height and a conspicuous landmark for 
mariners and Channo' is the kingdom of Chera. Megasthenea also alludes 
to the fact that the southern people were ruled by queens, probably the 
female sovereigns of Attungal, by which name the Eanis of Travancore 
are still known. 

• Mr. K. Padinnnabhan Tanipi's loctiirc on " Early Accounts of Travfincove rad 

X Mr. K. I'. PndmaTiahlirt Monon'fl pnpor in tlio Madras Uoview on *' Malabar br known 
to the Ancient."?.'' 

VI.] Early History. 230 

Eratosthenes who lived about 276 B. c. is the first foreign writer 
who mentions Cape Comorin. He thought India lay east to west. 

The second and thirteenth edicts of the Emperor Priyadarsin or 
Asoka (257 b. c.) contain special references to the king of Chera or Kera- 
la. "In all the subjugated territories of King Priyadursiy the beloved of 
the Gods, and also in the bordering countries {Pratyanta) as Chola, Palaya 

Satyaputra, Keralaputra, Tamhapani, it is proclaimed " It is quite clear 

from this that Kerala existed as an independent kingdom at the time of 
the edicts (257 B, c). The special mention of the country by name probably 
indicates also its importance. 

" It was not till about 120 b. c. that an attempt was made to go from Eg}^pt 
to India. \ Hindu, said to have been wrecked in the Red Sea, volunteered to 
take a ship to India. The ship was fitted out and in it sailed Eiidoxus of Cyzi- 
cus. The voyage was successful ; the ship brought back a valuable cargo, hut it 
was appropriated by the King [Ptolemy Euergets II). The same fate befell a 
second expedition sent out by Cleopatra. Strabo wTote of Eudoxus' attempt to 
reach India as something altogether new and exceptional. "* 

In 47 A. D. a new route to India was discovered. 

The Periplus says, ** Hippalos was the pilot who first by observing the 
bearings of the ports and the configuration of the sea, discovered the course 
across the ocean, whence as at the season when our Etesians are blowing, 
a periodical wind from the ocean likewise blows on the Indian sea, the 
wind which is the south-west is, it seems, called in those seas Hippalos". 
According to Dr. Kobertson, " this route to India was held to be a discovery 
of such importance that, in order to perpetuate the memory cf the inventor, 
the name of Hippalos was given to the wind which enabled him to per- 
form the voyage". 

We have in Pliny (23-79 a. D. ) a very accurate description of the 
route to India, of the country of Malabar and its main articles of trade. 
The Greek ships anchored at either Musiris (Pliny calls it ' primum em- 
porimi indim') or Nelkanda, the former of which has been identified by 
Dr. Bumell to be Cranganore and the other is beUeved to refer to some 
port near Quilon, probably Neendakara. The ruler of the country was 
*Calabothras\ The things which' fetched the highest prices in Eome 
were spices, pearls, diamonds and silks — the first three were exported 
fi'om the east coast (Madura and Tinnevelly), while silk was brought 
down in country ships from China. The prices paid were fabulous; the 
silks were sold for their weight in gold. 

* Til.- Mnlabtir Manual. Vol. 1. Vutx 219. 

34tO Tkavan'core Manual. [CifAf. 

Pliny says: — 

" To those bound for India, it is most convenient to depart froo) Okdliu 
(now Galla or Cella, a small l)ay within the straits of Babehnandeb). They sail 
thence with the wind Ilipnalos in forty days to the first emporium of India, 
Mu::iris (Kodungaiui'), which is not a desirable place to arrive at on account of 
})irates infestin^j the neighl)ourhood who hold a place called Nitrias, which is not 
supplied with nio]'chandise. Besides, the station for ships is at a great distance 
from the shore and car«^oes have l)Oth to be landed and shipped by means of littjb 
boats. There reigned there, when I wrote this, CnJohofhrcs. Another i)ort be- 
longing to the nation is tho more convenient NcacuHfJon — w^hich is callea Becare. 
There reigned Pandion in an inland town, far distant from the emporium, called 
Miuhi'n - the region, however, from whicli they convey pepper to Becare in boats 
fonned from single? logs in Cnthnnrtt (Kottarakara)". 

Pliny estimated that India took 55,000,000 sesterces (4,86,979 £.) 
annually and the goods purchased for that sum brought a hundred times 
that amount when sold in Europe. 

The Periplus of Arrian was probably written in the first centiu*y 
A. I). The author was an Alexandrian Greek and a contemporary of Pliny. 
He made several voyages to Malabar. His description of the Malabar ports 
runs as follows : — 

" Then follow Naoura and Tundis, the first marts of Limurike, and after 
these, Musiris and Nilkanda the seats of Government. To the kingdom under 
the sway of Keprobotras Tundis is subject, a \'ii]age of great note near the sea. 
Musiris wkich pertains to the same realm, is a city at the height of prosperity, 
frequented as it is by ships from Arike and Greek ships from Egypt. It lies 
near a river at a distance from Tundis of 500 stadia," whether this is measured 
from river to river, or by the length of the sea- voyage, and it is 20 stadia distant 
from the mouth of its ow^n river. The distancti of Nilkanda from Musiris is also 
nearly 500 stadia, whether measured from river to river, or by the sea- voyage, 
but it belongs to a difierent kingdom. ... ... ... ... ..." 

He also refers to the Varkala hills and gives a fine description of Gape 
Coniorin, he says: — 

*• After Bakare occurs the inountain called Pyrrhos (or the Red) towards 
the south, near another district of the country called Paralia§ (where there are 
ixmrl fisheries which l)elong to King Pandion), and a city of the name Kolkhoi. 
In this district the first place met with is called BaHta, which has a good harbour 
and a village on its shore. Next to this is another place called Komar, wheiiB 
is the Ca}>e of the same name and a haven. Those who wish to consecrate the 
closing part of their lives to religion come hither and bathe and engage them- 
selves to celibacy. This is also done by women, since it is related that the 
goddess once on a time resided at the place and bathed. Fi'om Komarei towards 
the south tlie country extends as far as Kolkhoi, w^here the fishing for pearls is 
carried on. Condemned criminals are employed in this semce. King Pandion 
is the owner of the fishery. To Kolkhoi succeeds another coast lying along a 
gulf having a district in the interior bearing the name of Argalon. In this single 
jilace are obtained the pearls collected near the island of Epiodores. " I 

** A Stadium is «»(|iinl to oH2 KnjrliHli fwt. 

s 'I'lic' kii:^' (if Truvnncorc was called in the old dayw Paraliwin ' the lord of P«niH.' Purnli 

i.s Btiil tho nainr of a rivrr iu South Travancorc. 
^ Mc Criufllr's IV-riplii'? Mari'< Krythra'^i. Pajrc 130. 

Yl] Eaely History. »41 

PtdftUiy's geography (139 a. d.) mentions the following places in 
I^iojiiiiike. "Bmhmagara, Kalaikanei's, Musiris, Podoperonra, Lemne, 
Karouca, Hakarei and two rivers, namely, the Pseudostomos and the 
Bftris.'' Inland cities mentioned by him are : — *' To the west of the 
Pseudostooioe, Naroulla Kamba, Poloura. Between the two rivers — 
Pasage, Mastonover, Courellour, Karom-a (the royal seat of (Kerobothras), 
Areambour, Bidderis, Pantiopolis, Adarima, Koreo. South of Nilkanda 
lies the country of the Aivi." The cities named in this region (Aivi) are 
" Ealngkour (a mart), Kottara (a metropolis), Bamala, Komaria (a cape 
and town) and Mormida." 

Dr. Caldwell thinks that * Limurike ' represents the Tamil- Malaya- 
lam conotry and that * Karoura ' is the modern town of Karur on the 
Amaravati in the Coimbatore District. The Peutingerian Tables (third 
century a. d.) called the country * Damurike/ The chief ports of im- 
portanca in the first century a. d., were * Naura' (the present Onore), 
*,Tundis* (Kadalundi near Beypore), 'Musiris' (Kodungalur), and 
• Nilkanda' (Neendakara near Quilon). 

*' The description given by Pliny, Arrian, and Ptolemy of Limurike or the 
TaJ[nil Malayalam country, enables us to gauge approximately the extent of the 
sway of Coelobothras or Keprolx)thra8. I^Vom Pliny it is difficult to gather its 
northern limit, but after making mention of the important port of Musiris he 
;4oe8 southwards and names Neacyndon, which, according to him, belonged to 
Pandion. In this the Periplus agrees with him. Ptolemy calls the place 
Meikt/nda and places it in the country of Aioiy identified I)y Caldwell with South 
Travancore. Ptolemy and the author of the Periplus are at one in making 
Tundis the most northern port in Limurike. The Periplus gives its distance at 
700 stadia or nearly 12 degrees of latitude if we reckon 600 stadia to the degree. 
The location of Tundis somewhere near Calicut (11° 15' N. Lat.) has been com- 
pletely justified by the satisfactory identification of Musiris with Cranganorc 
mateid of with Mangalore as previously accepted."" 

South India and Rome (80 b. c— 540 a. d.). The next 
event of importance in the history of the west coast is the inter- 
course between South India and Rome, the mistress of the ancient 
world. It is highly probable that Indian goods wei'e even in very eai'ly 
times taken to Rome by the early carriers, the Egyptians and the Greeks. 
But after the conquest of Egypt by the Romans, especially after Egypt 
was made a Roman Province by Emperoi* Augustus, the commercial 
activity with the East reached its zenith. The Egyptian Greeks were 
no longer the intermediaries, but Rome came into direct contact with 
India. The embassy of Augustus in 20 B. c, to the Pandyan king who 
ruled over Tinnevelly, Madm'a and Travancore, was probably only one of 
a series. 

Mr. K. P. PndmdDabbn Menon in thf. Maxims Rovion. 

242 Teavancore Manual. [Chap. 

'' And about this same time ('24 a. d.), the first Hindu embassy from 
King Poi'us, or as others say, from the king of Pandya, proceeded to 
Europe and followed the Roman Emperor Augustus to Spain. It was on 
this occasion that an ascetic (probably a Jain) who accompanied the ex- 
pedition voluntarily, sacrificed himself at Athens on a funei-al pyre."+ 

According to the Pcutingerian Tables (3rd centuary A. D.), there was 
at one time (no date specified) a temple of Augustus at Kodimgalur with 
a garrison of two cohorts and 1,200 men. This evidently indicates that 
the relation between Home and South India was no longer merely of a 
commercial nature. There is reason to believe that there was also a 
Roman colony at Madura. The finds of Roman coins in the various parts 
of South India, afford valuable evidence of long-standing commercial 
relations and large monetary dealings between Rome and South India. 

Potfuls of Roman coins and medals have been discovered at Vellore, 
PoUachi, Chavadipalayam, Vellalur, Coimbatore, Madura, Kamr, Oota- 
camond, Cottayam in North Malabar, Kilabur near Tellichery, Kftli>.m 
putur, Avanasi, and Trevor- near Cannanore. They range from 
the time of Augustus to that of Zeno — from B. c. 27 to A. D. 491, 
and arc found only within certain specified limits — Coimbatore, Mysore, 
Tundainad, South Malabar and Cochin. Coimbatore has the largest share 
l)ut Malabar ranks next. *' The gold coins found at Cottayam were so 
numerous that six coolies could scarcely carry them and those found at 
Tievor numbcrod 800 large gold coins." We also find that the coins 
discovered in Coimbatore and Malabar are earher in date than those found 
at other places. The coins were all buried in the earth. The perfor- 
ations in most of them clearly show that they had been used as ornaments. 
These estabhsh the long standing connnercial relations between Rome and 
South India. 

The Pandyan kings, us well as the rulers of Malabar, seem to have 
sent more than one embassy to Rome. The one to Augustus is noticed by 
Strabo, and subsequently to hiiji in the Chronoqraphia of Georgius Syncelles 
(800 A. J).) who says under the head of tlie ISotli Olympiad, " Pandion, 
king of the Indians, sends an embassy to Augustus desiring to become 
his friend and ally" . Tliis embassy, says Florins, was four years on the 
road. Dr. Oppeil sj)eakh of Indian (mivovs with precious presents being 
sent to Augustus, Claudius, Antoniinis Pius and Julianus, and even so 
late as the reign of Justinian (540 a. d.), one was despatched to 

+ TIiP M."i1:i1>:ji- M:;nn:»l. Vol. I. Vu,^. 2\\). 

VI.] Early Histoky. 248 

Constantinople. " The Roman coins found in Madura are supposed by 
Mr. Sewell to point to something more than mere commercial relations. 
The company of Romans that lived in Madura possessed, according to 
Mr. Tracy, the right of minting coins which indicates some political 
power.'* The temple of Augustus and the Roman garrison at Cranganore 
no doubt point to the same conclusion. Kodungalur must have once 
been a Roman colony. 

" About B. c. 14, Drusus the younger brother of Tiberius had command of 
an army in Gaul, and in order to secure more fully the allegiance of the northern 
tribes who, after a fashion, acknowledged the sway of Augustus, hit upon the 
device of building a temple for the worship of the image of the Emperor. May 
we not conjecture, with some show of reason, that it was for a similar purpose 
that the Romans set up a temple of Augustus at Kodungalore ?. But in the 
dearth of historical data it would be idle to speculate ; as yet we have no e\'idence 
of any Roman conquests in South India on the western Coast ". * 

The Early Missionaries, (a. d. 345— a. d. 82.5.J The next 
event concerning Kerala is dated 345 a. d. Thomas Cana (Koua Thoma), 
merchant and missionary, visited the Malabar Coast in that year. He 
brought to Cranganore a colony of four hundred Christians from Bagdad, 
Nineveh and Jerusalem. He found a Cheraman Perumal ruling in the 
kingdom on whose death the country was divided among his descendants. 
A manuscript volume in the British Museum dated 1604 a. d, gives 
information about Thomas Cana from a grant made to him by a Chera- 
man Perumal which is quoted here in a subsequent chapter (Rehgion). 

In 522 A. D., Cosmos Indicopleustes visited the Malabar Coast. 
His writings are of gi'eat historical value to us, for he is the first traveller 
who mentions the Syrian Christians. He wrote, *' In the island of Ta- 
probane (Ceylon) there is a church of Christians, and clerks and faithful. 
Likewise at Male where the pepper grows ; and in the town of Kalliana 
there is also a bishop consecrated in Persia '' . 

The Nestorian Patriarch Jesujabus who died in 660 a. d., makes 
special mention of Quilon in his letter to the Simon, Metropolitan of 
Persia. " India which extends from the coast of the kingdom of Persia to 
Colon, a distance of more than 1,200 Parasangs, § deprived of a re- 
gular ministry, but Persia itself is left in darkness " . 

In 744 A. D. (the date fixed by Dr. Burnell), King Vira Raghava 
made a grant to Iravi Korttan, a Christian of Cranganore, making over to 
him the territory of Manigramam and giving him the rank of merchant. 

* Mr. PadDianabha Monon'8 '* Malabar as known to the Ancients. " 

§ A PrrpiuTi measure of lenpfch, containinp: 30 stadia, equal to 3} miles. 

844 Travancork Manual. [CriAS*. 

The copper plate which is in old Tamil character with some GnteaHthA etbiat^ 
acters intermixed, is preserved m the Kottayam Seminary, The acOtii*aiey 
of the date 744 a. d., is very doubtful. ^ 

In 822 A. D., two Nestorian Persian Bishops, Mar Sapor and Mar 
Peroz settled in Quilon with a large following. 

Two years later (824 a. d. ), the Malabar Era began, aAd Wafi <^6d 
after Quilon, which was undoubtedly the premier city of Malabar (includ- 
ing Travancore and Cochin). Shungoonny Menon says that the era was 
founded by Koda Marthanda Varma, Kmg of the South. Mr. liogaa 
seems to think that the era was founded in commemoration of the in- 
dependence of the chiefs of l^TrJiabar from the sway of the Penimal ot of 
the religious revolution created by Sri Sankaracharya. Professor 8undara;iii 
Pillai surmises that the era may be merely an adaptation of the Saptar- 
shaoY 8astra Sanivatsara era» of the north. The era begins on the first 
Chingam or the middle of August for the southern portion of Malabar and 
on the first Kanni or the middle of September for the northern portion. 

** In the same year King Sthanu Ravi Gupta anxious to secure the peea- 
niaiy assistance from the Chi-istian merchants in his effoiiis to repel an inTasiitti 
of Malabar by the Baliakas, granted the copper plate known as the second 
charter. In this, the King gave permission to Mar Sapor to transfer to the 
Tarasa church and community at Quilon, a piece of land near the city with the 
hereditament usual at the time of several families of low caste slaves attaohed to 
the soil." + 

Trade with China. The trade with China, which had very much 
decreased in the previous centuries, revived with great vigour in the eighth 
century. According to the records of the Tang Dynasty (618 A. D. to 
913 A. D.), Quilon was their chief settlement and they gave it the name of 
• Mahlai '. Several were the embassies sent by the Malabar Kings to the 
Celestial Emperor. The King of Quilon and the neighbouring districts is 
referred to in these records as Benati or Venad, the name by Which 
Travancore is designated even to day. This Chinese trade decreased agam 
about 900 A. D., and was not re^^ved till the 13th century. 

The Early Mahomedans. It was probably in the beginning of 
the 8th century that the Moslems of Arabia superseded the Greeks in their 
trade with the west coast of India. Their first arrival is closely mixed up 
with the tradition of Cheraman Perumal and his conversion. This last erf 

• Mr. Vciikavya assigns thi' ^rant to the 14tli cpnhirj' A. r».. on pa1acH>gmpbical gronttdiL 
— Indian Antiqimry vril. iv. papfc 293. Dr. Ki'ilhom accepts Vonkayya's conclusion and fixei 
tho date of tho jn'aia to th(i J 5th March 1320 a. u. — Ind. Ant. vol. vi. page 83. 

f Tho Syrian Church in India — Mihio Kac. 

VI.] Early History. 845 

the Rovereigns of Keralam, so goes the story, was converted to Islam by 
the Mahomedan missionaries who visited his coast, and embarked with 
them to Arabia to see the Prophet in person. On reaching his destination, 
he was so struck with the grandeur of the faith and the enthusiasm of the 
believers that he immediately despatched missionaries to his coast with 
letters of introduction to the chiefs ; one of them sent on his death-bed 
from Zapher, was Malik Ben Habeck, who travelled from Cranganore to 
Quilon. He built a mosque at the latter place, settled as a preacher and 
undertook several preaching expeditions in the neighbomhood. 

Merchant Soleyman of Siraf in Persia, who visited Malabar in the 
middle of the 9th century, found Quilon to be the only port in India 
touched by the huge Chinese ships on their way from Canton to the Per- 
sian Gulf. At Quilon they paid a heavy port duty of 1,000 denarii * 
and it was the chief port of call between China and Western India. 
Another Mahomedan traveller of the period describes it as the first port 
which vessels touch from Muscat at a month's sail from that port. The 
Mahomedans probably settled in small numbers on the coast for trading 
purposes, but it does not appear that their religion made any progress. The 
traveller referred to above has left on record : — " I know not that there is 
any one of either nation ( Chinese and Indian ) that has embraced Maho- 
medanism or speaks Arabic. " 

The Mahomedans first settled in Malabar in the 9th century a. d. 
We have an interesting, though brief, account of the origin and growth of 
this community in the early chapters oiTahafit'Ul-mnjahideen—QXi histori- 
cal work by Sheik Zeenuddin, a Malabar Mahomedan, who lived in the 
court of Sultan Adilshah of Bijapur. 

In the Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems written about 950 A. D. 
by El Masudi, Arab traveller and merchant, we have an account of 
Malabar and a detailed narrative of a successful invasion of Travancore 
by the Hindu Emperor of Java. 

Al Biruni ( a. D. 970-1039 ) is probably 1 ho first to call the country 
Malabar. His account of the coast runs thus :— 

'* Beyond Guzerat are Konkan and Tana ; beyond them the countiy of 
Malibar, which from the boundary of Karoba to Kulam ( Quilon ), is 300 Para- 
sangs in length. The whole country produces the pan, in consequence of which 
Indians find it easy to live there, for they are ready to spend their whole wealth 
on that leaf. There is much coined gold and silver there, which is not exported 
to any other place. Part of the territory is inland and part on the sea-shore. 

* VcnariuB is a Roman silver coin equal to 9?d. 

d46 Travancore Manxj.vl. [Chap. 

They speak a mixed lan<<uage, like the men of Khabhalik in the direction of 
Rum, whom they resemble in many respects. The people are all Samani* 
( Buddhists ) and woi*ship idols. Of the cities on the shore the first is Sindahur, 
then Faknar (Barkur in South Canara),then the country of Manjanir, (Mangdore,) 
then the countiy of Hili, then the country of Sadarsa, then Jangli, then Kulam. 
The men of all' these countries are Samanis. After these comes the country 
of Sawalak ♦ which comprises 125,000 cities and villages. After that ccMnee 
Malwala * which means 1, 893,000 in number. About forty years ago the king of 
Malwala died, and between his son and the minister a contest arose and alter 
several Ijattles they ended with dividing the country between them. The con- 
sequence is that their enemies obtained a footing and are always making^ their 
incursions from different parts of Hind, and cairying off goods and viands, 
sugar, wine, cotton cloths, captives and great booty. But through the great 
wealth of that country no serious injury is done. " 

Territorial Extent. The account given above is what the 
foreign travellers and traders knew of the Malabar Coast and its people 
generally. An attempt may next be made to describe briefly the social and 
political condition of South India before the 11th century of the Christian 
era. The following stanza ascribed to the famous Tamil poet Kamhar who 
is said to have flourished, in the 9th century a. d., gives the 1x)undarie8 of 
Chera or Kerala thus : — 

|p> G iD/jfi 0<3:DiBT^e^ ta^Qff CSV) u^^ra> »/ ,« O) , 
(?cf T b /r l1 G^ /_ svSsoOiij ear jfO.^ u L/. 

which translated moans, " To the north lies the i)lace (or fane) Pulney, to 
the east Chcngodu (Shencottah) ; the western limit is KoUkudu (Calicut), 
and the southern the soa. Say these are the l)0undaries of Chera, 80 
Katams (leagues) from north to south." 

(There arc two other readings of the stanzii and these are thus trans- 
lated by Mr. Logan.) 

One version : 

1. To the North, the place Palani — hail ! to the East, the South Kasi, 

2. The West point KoU-kudu will become. The sea-shore of 

8. The juargin that will make the south. An SO Katams {leSLgtieB) 
4. The Cheranad boundary ; speaking, say thou. 

Another version : " On the north Palani, to the East the great town 
( Perur) on the south the sea. on the West the great mountain, from East 

• Prolmbly Lnccndivo nnd MRludivo islands. 

VI.] Early History. 247 

to West 40 Katams ( leagues ), from South to North 40 Ka tarns ( leagues) 
making together 80 Kataws ". 

There is a difficulty about this last stanza. Pulney is the northern 
boundary. Perur, near Coimbatore, lies north of Pulney and cannot be the 
eastern boimdary. It is probable Perur hes somewhere near Shencottah 
or Tenkasi. Again, the western boundary is the great mountain. The 
other two stanzas make it the sea. 

Neighbouring Kingdoms. We have already seen that Megas- 
thenes and the Edicts of Asoka refer to three kingdoms in the south : 
Chera or Kerala, Chola and Pandya. It must not be supposed that all 
these were independent kingdoms at all times ; sometimes Pandya held 
supremacy over the other two and sometimes Chola. We see the Chola 
king invading Ceylon in tlie 3rd century b. c, 2nd century B. c, 
and again in the 2nd century a. d. In the 6th century a. d., the 
Pallavas of Kanchi rose from small dimensions and, before two centuries 
elapsed, were masters of the whole of South India. In the 6th century, 
the western Chalukyans rose to power. In the beginning of the 7th 
century, one of the kings of this dynasty, Pulakesin II, "caused the great 
prosperity of the Cholas, and the Keralas, and the Pandyas, but became 
a very sun to (melt) the hoar frost which was the army of the Pallavas". 

On the death of Pulakesin II, the Southern Powers combined to 
overthrow the western Chalukyans. This was successful for a time, for 
the sons of Pulakesin were yet children. " But retribution speedily came, 
for it is recorded of Vinayaditya that during the lifetime of his father 
Vikramaditya I ( circa 670-680. a. d. ) and by his command, he arrested 
the exalted power of the Pallavas, whose kingdom consisted of three com- 
pofient dominions ". There is little room for doubt that the last phrase 
refers to the Chola, Pandya and Kerala rulers, who, in another grant of 
Vinayaditya's, are specifically referred to as the "proud summits of three 
mountains which he rent open (like Indra) with the thunderbolt which 
was his prowess". 

Vikramaditya II of the same dynasty (732-747 a. d.) is said to have 
" withered up Pandya, Chola, Kerala, Vallabha and other kings". 

The Battas or Rashtrakutas superseded the Chalukyans about 750 
A. D., and the lien on Kerala for tribate must have passed on to the 
conquerors of Chalukyans. Govinda III (about 800 a. d. ) is said to have 
conquered Kerala. According to the Malayalam tra<lition the Bashtra- 
ktttas were driven back. 

248 TiiAVANcoRE Manual. [Chap. 

The extent of these kingdoms is not known. But it may be roughly 
stated thus. The Pallavas ruled over Chingleput, North and South Arcot; 
the Cholas over Tanjore and Trichinopoly ; the Kongus over Coimbatore 
and Salem; the Pandyas over Madura and Tinnevelly; the western 
Chalukyans over the Karnataka and South Mysore ; and the Bashtrakutas 
over North Mysore. 

The Nannul and its original Tolkapyam refer to the following 
twelve *Nadus' as the places where old Tamil was spoken. 

O^s^irt.ifrsjmL^y r<5LlL-.Lb, r^u.ihy ^/bmir, QKjVSimy y^L^t 

/BsirQj^ajf^^LDy Lo^so.'B.r'J, /./o^r^®, QjFi^LSjfi 
(S^ir '(^^lS'Sv ueTTssfl^y^friLiL^ethT. 

I. South Pandy, 2. Kuttanad, 3. Kudanad, 4. Karkanad, 5. Venad, 
6. Pulinad, 7. Panrinad, 8. Aruvanad, 9. the country north of that, 
10. Sitanad (or the cold country), 11. Malanad, 12. Punnad. These 
were not all independent kingdoms ; they were probably chieftain- 
ships under the main kingdoms already referred to. 

Mr. Logan says that about this period (1,000 a. d.), 

*' The Cochin Eajas soom to have been the principal power in central Kerala, 
and it is in accordance with this that in tlie Kollam year 93 (a. d. 917-918) 
an expedition (probably of Kongus or Gangas) from Maisur was driven back 
when attempting an invasion of Kerala vi>t the Palaghat gap. Local tradition 
assigns this as the date on which the Cochin Rajas acquired the small district of 
Chittur still held hy them and lying to the east of Palaghat in the very centre 
of the gap".* 

By the 11th century a. d., the Pallavas had sunk to the position of 
mere feudatories of the Cholas who now became the great suzerain power 
of South India. The INIalanad (Hill country, West Coast, or Malabar) was 
more than once invaded by the Cholas at this time, and they doubtlcBs 
drew tribute from one or more Malayali chiefs. These invasions, however, 
do not Keem to have left any pcn-mancnt traces on the country or to have 
given rise to any political changes among the ruling families. 

The Chola supremacy in South India continued throughout the 12th 
century a. d. ; it attained its widest bounds probably in the reign of 
Kulottunga Chola (from about 1064 to lll^J ad.) and in 1170 a. d., 
Madura, the Pandyan ca])ital city, had become incorporated in the Chola 

♦ Tho Mi'ln>.nr M«nnnl. Vol T. Pajr.^ 17». 

VI.] Eakly Histohy. 24d 

Political Organisation in Malabar. Below the buzerain power 
of Malabar were a number of chieftains or princes (Udayavar, literally 
owners) of Nads (countries), including among them the well-known families 
of Venad (Travancore), Eranad (Zamorin), Vallavand, and Nedum- 
puraiyanad (Palghat). 

The Nad was the territorial organisation of the ruling Nayars. It 
was divided into a number of Desams or villages. The Tara was 
a Nayar organisation and was not conterminous with the Desam or the 
village. One Desam may have more than one Tarawad and sometimes 
a Tara included two or more villages. The Nayar inhabitants of a Tara 
formed a tribal Government, as it were, under the patriarchal rule of their 
Karanavar. These Karanavars formed the * Six Hundred' who were the 
supervisors (Kanakkar) and protectors of the Nad. Theit duty according 
to the Keralolpattiy \\a^ "to prevent the rights from being curtailed or 
suffered to fall into disuse". They wcie in short the custodians of ancient 
rights and customs ; they chastised the chieftains' ministers when they 
committed unwarrantable acts, and were the * Parliament' of the land. 
Each village and Nad liad its heieditary chief who was subject to the 
king of the country. He paid a certain siun of money annually 'to the 
king in addition to the men and provisions. In his own little dominion he 
was absolute. This was the case in the northern parts of Malabar as 
then known. No vestiges of it are to be now found as a political 
organisation in any part of Travancore except the Tarawad and the rule 
of the Karanavans, which prevailed universally throughout the coast. 

Mr. Logan in his Malabar Manual makes mention of three deeds, one 
granted by Bhaskara Ravi Varma in 700 a. d. , another by Viraraghava 
Chakravarti in 774 a. i).,and the third by Sthanu Eavi Gupta in 824 a. d., 
and draws from them certain inferences regarding the political 
organisation of Kerala. Prof. Kielhorn and Mr. Venkayya consider that the 
Kottayam plate of Viraraghava belongs to 1320 a. d. , and not to 774 a. d. 
There is also reason to suppose that these grants aie spurious. For, at 
least m one case, the Portuguese version of the grant does not in the 
least agree with the Sanskrit version of the same. Until the dates of 
these grants are ascertained with any certainty, it would be idle to specu- 
late upon their contents or on the names of the sovereigns mentioned 
in them. 

We do not know what the divisions of Kerala were at this period. 
Mr. Ellis considered that Malabar was divided into chieftainships (Udaya- 
var'^ about 389 ap. Nor are we in a position to state anything 

260 Tkavancore Manual. [Chap. 

definitely as to the sovereigns who ruled over Venad till the beginning of 
the 12th century a. d. From an inscription in the Temple of Maha- 
vishnu at Parthivapuram, it would appear that between the years 149 IT. E. 
and 106 m. e. (974-981 a. d.), there ruled over Venad two kings — ^Eodai 
Aditya Varma and Virakerala Varnia, but more definite informatKm 
is awaited from the archaeological researches m progress. 

The People. Custom was the law of the land. Agriculture wa^ the 
chief occupation. Trade was in the hands of foreigners. The inhabitants 
vrere Brahmins, Kayars and the lower castes. The Jews and the Christians 
occupied probably only selected spots on the coast. Mr. Logan is of opinion 
that the Vedic Brahmins must have arrived in Malabar in the early part 
of the 8th centm-y a. d., and not earlier and that they must have come 
by the coast from the Tuhi country. But the arguments on which his 
conclusions are based will not bear any critical scrutiny. -As has been 
shown in the section o\\ Ancient History, there is convincing evidence 
that South India and Malabar had Ijecome Brahminised at a very early 

The language spoken by the people at this period was probably Tamil. 
Dr. Caldwell holds that Malayalam is a recent language derived from 
Tamil. Dr. Gundert thinks that Malayalam and Tamil had a common 
source. But from the Stanzas from NannulanA Tolkapyam quoted above, 
it is clear that a large part of this country was Kodun Tamilnad (the tract 
of country where corrupt Tamil was spoken ) . Probably it was from this 
period that Sanskrit words began to be largely incorporated into the 
native tongue. 

Sankaracharya. xVfter Parasurama, th« founder of Keralam, no 

name is more intimately connected with the religious and social history of 
the peoi)le on this coast, than that of the great Brahmin savant and refor- 
mer, Sri Sankaracharya. To the historian of Travancore, Sankara's life is 
important for, (1) he was a native of Travancore, (2) his name is so 
closely associated with the reform of society, (3) he overthrew Buddhism 
and (4) he popularised Saivite and Smarta forms of worship thi'oughout 
India. His hfe and teachings wliich have shed lustre throughout the 
Indian continent will be referred to, in detail, latei* on. 

VI.] Eably Histoby. 261 

Part II (1100— 1400 a. a). 

In the beginning of the 12th century a. d., a battle was fought 
between the king of Kupakas ( Travancore sovereign ) and Eajasimha, 
the Pandyan king, at the dam of the river Parali, alias *Pandian 
Anai', during which the dam was demolished by the forces of the king of 
Kupakas. He defeated Eajasimha and conquered the country of 
Kottar together with the whole of Nanjanad on the Uth Chingam 
292 M. B. (1106 a. d.). It does not appear that this king of Venad, whose 
name we do not know, ruled long over Nanjanad, for we find that at the 
end of the 1st quarter of the 12th century a. d., Vadasseri was the eastern 
limit of his territory and Kottar and other portions of Nanjanad were 
under the sovereignty of Kulottunga Chola Deva who was one of the 
Mummudi Chola kings, named Rajakesarivarman alais Kajendra Chola 
Deva, and who reigned for a long period of forty and odd years with 
Kanchipuram as his capital. He changed the name of Kottar to Mummudi 
Cholanallur, approximately in the 39th year of his reign. Rajendra is 
then said to have come to Vizhinjam. *'He with his army commencing his 
march towards the west on an auspicious day, caused the mountains to 
bend their back, the rivers to forsake their beds and the Vilinjam seas to 
be stirred and agitated". * In confirmation of the above fact we find that 
until recently the town of Vizhinjam was called in deeds and documents 
Vilinjamana Rajendra Cholapattanam. 

Shungoonny Menon gives the following events for the period : — 
It was about this period that the combined army of Travancore and 
Kolathunad drove out the Bellalas from Kerala and enjoyed their respect- 
ive territories as originally assigned to them by Parasurama — the former 
from Korampuzhay to the south and the latter from that river to the 
north. Again the Travancore territories were reduced to small dimensions, 
the Raja of Cochin taking possession of the northern Districts of Travan- 
core and the Pandyan kings assuming Nanjanad and other possessions. 
The petty chiefs of Changanachery, Thekkamkur, Vadakkamkur, and 
other places asserted their independence and consequent y the vast 
kingdom which once extended to 800 miles in length was reduced to a 
length of 70 miles and a breadth of 20 miles, that is, from Edawa near 

• Mr. v. Kanakasabhai Pillai's Tamil Historical ManiiRcripts. Tho Indian Anfiquarv 
Vol XXI. 

262 Travancore Manual. L^^-^- 

Vai'kala in the north to Erattamalai (eastern side of Udayagiri) in the 
south. Two members of the Eoyal family of Travancore were adopted to 
the Madathinkur Swarupam at ^lavelikara, which was originally related 
to the Travancore Eoyal family and thus the two territories became united. 
During the Mahomedan rule of Pandya which continued for half a centu* 
ry, one Nanja Koravan, a feudatory chief of Travancore, obtained possess- 
ion of Nanjanad and established himself as a petty ruler. But subsequent 
to the release of the Madura kingdom from the Mahomedan sway, Nanja 
Koravan and his confederacy were driven away by the king of Tmvancore 
in the year 202 m. e. (1117 a. d.). 

In 801 M. E. (1123 A. D.), Sri Vira Kerala V.vrma I flourished in 
Venad and his loyal chieftain:; made over the tax in paddy and money 
due from Vadasseri as a gift to the temple of Bajendra Cholesvara for the 
daily performance of Tirinnadura-Pana'kam. Travancore or Venad, 
as it was then called, was under him a well-organised princi- 
pahty with loyal feudal chieftains to transact public business and 
to levy taxes, as it is done now, both in kind and in cash; 
the Government dues were then ujoderate and fair. The circumstances 
under w^hich Sri Vira Kerala of Venad was prompted to dedicate so 
piously a portion of his revenue to a temple founded by a foreign monarch 
are diflicult to determine. The grant was, however, meant in all 
probabihty as a political peace-oftering to the representatives of the 
Mimmiudi Chola power in the land. \ We do not know how long this 
king ruled. We find his successor Sri Kodai Kerala Varma ruling in 
Venad between 320 and 325 m. e. (1145—1150 A. n.). This king re- 
covered possession of Suchindram and other portions of Nanjanad and 
made to the temple of Suchindram a gift of lands in the following villages, 
namely Suchindram, Karkadu, Tenvalanallur (or Kakkumudur as it is 
now called) and Tenkanpudur. During his reign, the measurements of 
land and grains were the same as they were in the Chola country. Kodai 
was an epithet appUed to the kings of Travancore. 

The successor of this king was Sri Vira Eavi Varma who ruled 
over Venad from 330 to 339 m. e. (1161—1164 a. d.). The remaining 
northern portion of Nanjanad was added by him to his kingdom. The 
gift of the lands in Tazhakudi Puduvurarmulai to the temple of 
Puravavi Vinnavar Alvar was made by his loyal chieftains Singan Bangan 
of Pasunkulam (Painkulam) Tcnnadu, and tlu'ee others on the 6th of 
Edavam 83G m. e. There was no uniform standard for measures and 

t Earlv SovorcifpiH of Tiiivancore — \\y th«» late Prof. P. Snndaram Pillai M. A. 

VI.] Early History. 268 

weights anywhere in Southern India; each temple used its own under the 
name of the local deity. The village governments that existed received 
the support and sympathy of this sovereign. One of his documents 
confirms the inference that has already been drawn with respect to the 
eastern boundary of the Venad principality at that time. Since the 
executive officers referred to in the deed are styled ** officers in charge of the 
affairs of Nanjanad " (fsir^&fCTLL'BdsirfeujihQ^ljeu.riTs&r)^ the Chola power must 
have been by this time altogether extinct there. Vira Ravi Varma ruled 
peacefully over all South Travancore, his affairs in Nanjanad being 
administered by a triumvirate composed of Kerala Santosha Pallavaraiyan, 
probably the chief of the local officers, Govindan Vikraman and Anandan 
Chakrapani who were in charge of the civil administration. The Rajah's 
mim'sters of State at the capital were the loyal chieftains, Pullalan Aiyan, 
Singan Rangan, Narayanan Shungaran and Kodai Devan. 

The immediate successor of Ravi Varma was Shi Vira Kerala 
Varma II, who reigned over Venad from 339 to 342 M. E. (1164 to 
1167 a. D. ). His experienced Prime-minister was Singan Rangan of Pasun- 
kulam, who made gifts to the temple of Puravari Chaturvcdimangalm 
in 336 M. E. His officers in charge of the civil administration at Nanjanad 
were Kali Kunra Peralan, and Nayinan Kunra Peralan. During this 
reign the Pandya king Maravarman Sri Vallabha, who ascended the 
throne in 333 M. E. , married the daughter of Vira Kerala's younger 
brother, Sri Vira Udaya Martanda. Sri Vallabha belonged to the 
family of the Canarese Rajahs whose capital was Attur (^.5)jyi) before he 
intermingled with the Pandyas. For, he subscribed to one of his edicts 
as "the lord of Vali-Attur" to show his patriotism. The channel of the 
Tamrapumi river known as * Kannadiyan Caul * in the Tinncvelly district 
commemorates the original tribe of Canarese people to which he belonged. 
Sri Vallablia Pandya ruled over Eastern and Western Vembanad 
(i. e., Tinnevelly and North Travancore) until the year 364 — 365 M. e., 
(1190 a. d.) with VaUiyur (ancient name AUiyur) for his capital. It 
was somewhere between 337 and 339 m. e., that Sri Vallabha married 
the daughter of Sri Vira Udaya Martanda, the date of whose accession 
was about 348 m, b. His wife assumed the name of Tribhuvana Devi 
after one of his surnames, viz., Tribhuvana chalcravarti (i. c., the emperor 
of three worlds). The king Sri Vira Kerala II gave the vilhge of Vira- 
keralamangalam in Valliyur, cks dowry to the princess Tribhuvana Devi at 
her wedding. In 841 M. E., the queen Tribhuvana Devi was delivered of 
a son. In 349 M. e. (1174 A. d.), the Sri Vaishnavas and the temple 

264 Travancouk Makual. [Chap. 

authorities of Puravari Chaturvedimangalain in South Travancore peti- 
tioned to Sri Yallabha for the gift of certain lands free of tax to the 
temple of Puravari Alvar. The gift was duly made by him in 351 M. B., 
(1176 A. D.) with the knowledge of his wife, and the implied consent of his 
son Kulasekhara, who was then ten years old, as the property was a por- 
tion of his wife's dowry granted by Vira Kerala II. Consequently one 
niyogam (order) was issued by the minor son to the assembly of Yira- 
keralamangalam with a (sssiL^aSI^) certificate of his guardian (j^fBrnoj^Qaiuf^ 
directing them to place the property under the management of the temple 
of Puravari Alvar. To symbolise the minor's right over this donation^ 
an emblematic style {erQ^^^trsaS SieotT(^^aru>) was engraved on the boundazy 
stone, besides the disc of the divine donee. Meanwhile Tribhuvana Devi 
gave birth to a second son Elaya Peruinal and died. Elaya Peromal 
erected the Udayamartanda mantapam, and deified his mother therein as 
a common tutelary deity {^^xiLLtfir^fitTesrL^ ^(^L/a/aarff^^if), to protect the two 
families of Cheravarasam {Q^jfuu^^ih) and Srivallabhavamsam {j^mtm^oum 
ii^^). The first son of Maravarman Sri Vallabha was Jatavarman Kula- 
sekhara Perumal who ascended the throne in 3G5 M. E., the last year 
of the reign of Sri Yallabha. 


Sri Viua Udaya JIartanda Varma, the brother of Vira Kerala 11, 
and the father of Tribhuvana Devi, succeeded to the throne in 348 M. B., 
(1173 A. D.). His capital was Kolidaiknru, now the insignificant village of 
Kulikod near Padnianabhapuram. lie built the front mantapam in 
the temple of Tiruvattar, and named it after him. According to 
Rhungoonny Menon, the Pantalani Koyal family which had already settled 
in Travancore in 901 a. d., received some territorial grants from the Tra^ 
vancore king in 315 m. e. (1170 a. d.) ; so also did the Punjar Bajah who 
emigrated to Travancore at the timf\ Evidently the Rajalis of Travancoce 
with their diminished doming ^n^^ and power wore not then in a position to 
make large grants to the chiofa of Pantalam and Punjar. 

The next sovereign we have to nv>te is Siu Dkvadaram Kerala Varma 
(Sri Vira Kerala III), wlio ilourished in Venad in Kanni 368 M. E. He 
founded a village (with a temple) called after his name Yirakeralapuram 
or Viralam, as it is now called, near Attungal in Chirayinkil 
Taluq. The country iib^ut Attungal was known in early times as 
Kiff)(f(irs((n'.- - 'J, in^ovinco altogt'ther distinct from Venad. Jatavuman 
Kulasekhara, who ascended [he throne in ^O;") m. e., and reigned over 
North Travancorvj for a period of thirty years, was the contemporary of 
Sri Vira Kerala HI and of his successors Sri Vira Eama Varma and 
Sri Vira Raman Kerala. 

VI.] Early History. ^65 

In 371 M. E. (1196 A. D.), the ancient throne of Venad was occupied by 
Sri Vika Rama Varma Tieuvadi. From the inscription in which this 
king is mentioned, we are able to trace two or three striking features of 
the social economy of the times. 

" Besides the village associations already noticed, Venad, it would appear, 
had an important public body under the name of the * Six Hundred * {Qeu^tLi^jm 
^^(^qjit) to supervise the working of temples and cbarities connected therewith. 
What other powers and privileges this remarkable coi'poration of * Six Hundred* 
was in possession of, future investigation can alone determine. But a number so 
large, nearly as large as the British House of Commons, could not have been 
meant, in so small a state as Venad was in the 12th Century, for the single 
function of temple supervision. There is an allusion again in this record to the 
Valanjiyars of the eighteen districts. The * eighteen districts * were no doubt 
eighteen administrative divisions of Venad We may reasonably pre- 
sume that the eighteen Valanjiyars were eighteen local magnates, or feudal barons 

of the realm It looks probable that the loyal chieftains transacting 

business in the name of the king and forming, as it were his government or 
cabinet ministry came from this class of Valafijiynrs or feudal barons "". 

There were also slaves attached to the land and there were two 
important kinds of land tenure, Ural or Uramnaiy subject to the control of 
the village associations, and Karanmai or freeholds, directly under the 
control of the state. 

The successor of this Rama Varma was probably Sri Vira Kaman 
Kerala Varma who ruled over Venad from 384 to 389 M. e. (1209— 
1214 A. D.). His daughter Sri Vira Umaiyammai, constructed the temple 
of Mahadeva at Kadinangulam on the 18th day of the month of Minam 
in 389 M. E. Baman Kerala Varma's inscription at Trivandrum clearly 
Bhows, according to Prof. Sundaram Pillay, "that in 384 M. E., Trivandrum 
like so many other villages, had a sahha or assembly, with a sahlmjnita^ 
chairman or £>ecretary of its own, and that it used to meet on occasions of 
importance in the old temple at Mitranandapuram about a furlong to 
the west of the present shrine of Sri Padmanabha. The south-western 
comer of the courtyard of this temple is still pointed out as the sacred 
spot where sabhas used to meet of old, and the word fck or 'south' serves 
as no dubious guide to that spot. The raised floor of this hall still re- 
mains but the roof which must have resounded with the voice of many a 
wise counsel, is no more *\ The other inscription of Sri Vira Raman 
Kerala Varma taken from the temple of Kadinangulam proves beyond 
all doubt that on the morning about 8 a. m. of Thursday the 18th Minam 
389 M. E. (1214 a. d.), that sovereign occupied the throne of V^nad. How 

• Early Sovereipns of Travancore. linliau Aiiti«|»iury. Vol. \X1V. Pnpo 2b0, 


long ago ho ascended it, and when exactly it passed away to his successor 
are points yet to be determined by further researches. 

Next in order comes Siu Vika Kavi Kkrala Varma, as may be infer- 
red from a Vattezhuttu inscription at Manalikarai, a petty village near 
Padmanabhapiiram in South Travancore. The purport of the inscription 
is that on the 27th Medam 410 M. E., when Jupiter was in Vrischigam, 
was issued the following Proclamation: — 

" Agreeably to the iinderstanJing arrived at in a consultation duly held 
among the loyal chieftains of Sri Vira Iravi Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, 
graciously ruling over Venad, the members of the suhha (or assembly) of 
Kodainalloor, and the i)eople of that village as well as Kandan Tiru- 
vikraman of Marn^atacheri, entrusted with the right of realising the 
government dues : We conmianJ and direct that the tax due from government 

lands ])e taken as amounting in paddy to and 24, in arakkal 

crop (Kanni crop), and 725 and 2-1, in charal crop (Kumbham), and making 

upper year a total of and the same, due from tax -paying village lands, 

be taken as amounting in paddy to and 24, in omkkal crop; 

and 728 and 21, i j i rh f? . tf / crop, and making * up per year a of 709 2/10; and that when the due 

quantity is measured out, a receipt be granted, discharging the liabihty; the 
fact being duly noted al^o in the rent roll, and we command moreover that the 
order of permanent lease (now in force) be surrendered into the hands of the 

clerks who write or issue such deeds From the Tiivami, (Swami), too, 

no more lease be taken. When part of the tax is paid, and part is still due, a 
list shall be prepared showing the arreai*s for the whole year ; and an anchaU 
(or authorisation) taken in v/riting to realise the same from the sabha and the 
inhabitants ; and the arrears then recovered accordingly. In seasons of drought 
and consequent failure of crops, the members of the ffblm and the people of the 
village shall inspect the lands, and ascertain which have failed and which 
have not. The lands that have failed shall be assessed at one-fifth of the normal 
dues, but this one-fifth shall be levied as an additional charge on the remaining 
lands bearing a crop. If all the taxable lands appear to have equally failed, the 
siibhii and the villagers shall report the matter to the Swami and, after the 
Swami has inspected the lands and ascertained the fact, one-fifth (of the entixe 
dues) shall be levied. This one-fifth shall be taken to include patiarrliti and, 

onachtjhivn amounting;; in paddy to If the members of the 

sallui and the inhabitants agree among themselves, and pray in common for a 
postponement of payment, as the only course open to a majority among them, 
this demand (one-fifth drought rate) shall be apportioned over all the 
lands paying tax to government (to be levied in the subsequent harvest) but 
without interest and i>"(u'rt\ the rent roll of the current year being scored out. 
Should anything whatever be done contrary to these rules, the deviation shall be 

visited with fine and the strict procediure again adopted. This Our 

regulation shall continue in force as long as the moon and the stars endure." 

This is a true stone-inscribed copy of the Koyal writ. According to 
the late Prof. Sundai-am Piilay, th(^ Travancore Honorary Archaeologist, 

"This grants not a perpetual lamp or • a mountain-like drum ' to the Gods 
above, but peace and protection f o toiling humanity here below. One of the most 
mom'Mii.ous qu^'stioTjs in all human communities has been, and will always be, the 

VI.] Early History. ^57 

price each individual in it has to pay for the advantages of organized social life. 
In proportion to the fixity and definiteness characterizing this price, in all its as- 
pects, is the government of the community said to be civilised, stable and constitu- 
tional. An important item in the price to be thus paid is the pecuniary contri- 
bution given by each individual for the maintenance of the State. In all agri- 
cultural countries, the bulk of the contribution must assume the form of land tax. 
In Travancore, then, which is little (»lse than agricultural, where in fact there is 
no individual but has his turcumU his plot of land, the plot in which he is bom, 
in which he lives and works and in which he dies and is cremated too, so that his 
very ashes stick to it even after his soul departs from this world, in a country so 
entirely agricultural, there can be no question of more vital interest, or of more 
universal concern, than the nature and amount of land tax, the manner and time 
of paying it, and the machinery through which it is realized for the State. It 
appears to have been the practice with several governments in by-gone days to 
farm out the land revenue to the highest bidders, with a view to save themselves 
the trouble and expense of collecting it in dribblets. The iniquity of 
of the system may be better imagined than described. It seerns, nevertheless, to 
have been current in the neighbouring districts of Tinnevely Jind Madura to 
the very days of the Honourable East India Company. But in Travancore, 
thanks to the village associations and the magnanimity and political sagacity that 
seem to have uniformly characterized the Venad sovereigns, the r^ysteni, if it was 
eVer largely introduced, was nipped in the bud, and the disasters of the fable of 
the goose with the golden eggs were early averted. For, observe how the royal 
writ before us deals that system a death blow. It quietly takes away, in the 
first place, its sting by fixing the government dues exactly and unalterably per 
year and per harvest. The lease again is not to bo a tirn taravu, an enduring 
one, but to be renewed from time to time so that the government farmer 
would have no chance of abusing his power on the strength of the hold he might 
otherwise have of the people. The writ provides further, for the reduction of 
the government demand to one-fifth in times of drought and failure. Why, 
when some lands alone fail in a village, this one-fifth should be given up on those 
lands, but levied as an additional charge upon the remaining, might demand a 
word of explanation. In seasons of partial failure, and in tracts of land not 
fully opened out by easy lines of communication, the price of com goes easily 
high ; and the Kodainallur council seems to have thought it just, or at all events 
conducive to fellow-feeling, that those that are benefited by such an adventitious 
rise of prices should forego a portion of their profits for the sake of their suflfer- 
ing fellow-villagers. At any rate, the measure must have acted as a check 
upon false complaints of failure, since the duty of determining what lands had 
failed, and what not, was left to the villagers themselves under the super- 
vision of the sahha. It would be interesting to know who the Swami was, to whom 
the edict assigns the duty of ascertaining and certifying the fact, in case the 
whole village fails. He was, no doubt, some high ecclesiastical functionary, 
with a considerable portion of the land revenue of the village probably assigned 
to him for his own support and the support of the temple he was in charge of. 
The prohibition to take out leases from the Swaini would then mean prohibition 
to farm out to the highest bidder the land revenue so assigned to him. Any- 
how, when the Swami certifies a complete failure of crops in the whole village, 
the government reduces its total demand to one-fifth, and, forgoes in addition, 
its right to levy two minor charges, under the name of patiavrittiy (probably a 
present on the anniversary of the Sovereign's accession to the throne,) and 
oHuchelavH, a special contribution to keep up the annual national festival of 
that name (Onam)." 

Furthci* he writfs; — 

258 TiJAVANcoBE JVlAxuxVii. [Chap. 

" It is saul that the odict is issued in terms of the understanding oome 
lo, in a councJI composed of the loviil chieftains or ministers oi the king, the 
Msscnihly of Kotlfihiallur, Mie pcrople of tlu> village, and Kandan Tiruvikraman, 
i 1)0 locjil iN.'venue farmer or collector. I call him the collector, for, h o w e v a r 
oi)i)iessive a lessee or farmer he might have heen heforc the date of this docnment, 
he and his successors in office ciould have been nothing more than simple colleoton 
of revtnue after the exact dclinition of the government dues given in the edict itsell 
No doubt he must have boen a terrible man in his day with an appointed function 
in the evolution of history, not unlike perhaps the one played by those who went 
forth to demand 'ship money' in the days of Hampden. The good people of 
Kodainallur seem to have berii also equal to the occasion. Here is proof, if need 
he, of tiie iiulepiMideiit nalinc and constitution of the old village assemblies of 

Travancore The safjlm^^ appear as permanent and well constituted 

public bodi«.;s that acted as a buffer between the people and the govern- 
ment.... The wliolt! pr<jcedure reilects the greatest credit on all the parties 
concerned, their conjoint action resulting in so pi'eeious a charter to the people, 
and so uinnistakable a monument of the sovereign's unbounded love of his 
subjects. Though the wording of the document makes the enactment applicable 
primarily only to the village of Kodainallur, I have no doubt it was sooner or 
later extended to the whole of Venad. A just principle needs but once to 
be recognised to be applied on all hands. 1 hesitate not, therefore, to call this 
Mr.nalikarai Proclamation, one of the groat charters of Travancore. 

" But the imniediau; purjwse for wliich the Manalikarai charter is here 
introduced, is to pi-ove the lub c»f Sri Vini Bavi Kerala Vanna on the 28th 
Mcdam 4J0 ar. i:., or about April 1235 a. d. Having met Sri Vh-a Bama Kerala 
Varma only 21 years piioi', we may take llie two reigns as having been conter- 
minous with one anothoi'. ** 

l''ro]ii a Viiltezhuttu ill^^erip^un at Varkula, it is inferred that 
seventeen years hiter ytill, another nionaich ruled over Venad, Sri VlRA 
PADMANAnifA ^Iaiitanda Varma TiuuvADi, whose loyal chieftains in 
1*27 M. !•:., (ll2o2 a. d.) repaired the temple of Vadaserikkarai at Udaya- 
juartandapuruni in Varkala. The sacred spot where the temple of 
Janardanaswauii now stands was then called Udayamartandapuram, 
no doubt, in connnemoration of uu earlier sovereign at whose instance 
it was built. 

According to ihe nunlion in the inscription of the temple of 
Arulala Perunuil at Kanchii)urani ( Conjeovarani ) published by Prof. 
Kielhurn, tht-re wa.'. n (ince.i of the Kupaka family named U3fA 
Devi wlio was luling over Venad in 1252 A. i). She was married by 
Jayasimha J)eva, :i kiii^ belonging Lo tlu^ Yadu family of the Lunar 
race. Javammiia 1)i:va riih.d over Ixcrahi with his wife Uma 
Devi who l)roajL>hr. fortli v.. son Ktivi V:irma Knlasekhara Perumal in the 
Saka Samval ]l<sS (l-iiJG-T A. n.). This Jayasijnha seems to have been a 
good warrior, lov h-.^ brought the whole; u{ Kerala under his sway. Quilon 

* Kui'y Suv"--. iu'ii- "I" '!'.:r .iii-^»r". Iiii;;i'i Aiit nniMi'x . V..!. \\1V. Pjiffo 311. 

VI.] Kably History. 869 

was his capital, ami the country roiiud about was till recently called 
' Jayasimhanad ' after his name. 

The date of Jayasimha's death cannot now be definitely ascertained. 
He probably lived to the last years of the 13th century. His son, the 
gieat Ravi Vrma Kulasekhaua Peeumal was ruling over Kerala in 
1299 A. D., with Quilon as his capital. He had already defeated the Pandyan 
king and married his daughter. He made the Pandyas subject to the 
Keralas. He was famed as a great warrior at the time of the invasion 
of Bouth India by JIahk Kafar in 1810 A. d. Within a few years of his 
accession to the throne of Quilon, ho seems to have made large conquests 
in South India. He conquered the Cholas and the Pandyas and at the 
age of 46, i e in 1312 or 1313 A. D., he was crowned on the banks of the 
Vegavati at Conjeevarani . 

The king of Venad at the time was Siii Vika Udava Mahtanda 
Varma Tiruvadivar alias Yira Paiidya Devar. Jlavi Varma Kula- 
sekhara had evidently already subjugated him. " He apparently again 
made war against Vira Pandya, defeated him and drove him into Konkana 
and from there into the forests and conquered the Northern Country ". 
This war against Vira Pandya took place in 1816 a. D. 

To return to Venad. Sri Vira Udaya Martanda Varma Tiru- 
vadiyar occupied the throne of Venad in 1310 A. d. The inscripticm at 
Keralapuram two miles from Padmanabhapuram, wliicli mentions his 
name, also calls him Vira Pandya Deva. It may be interesting to know 
the circumstances that led to the assumption of this new and foreign title. 
Prof. Sundaram Pillay surmises : — 

" May it bo that when the Pandya power shi-unk back to its original condi- 
tion, after having been blown out into dangerous and medctiesonie greatness by 
the breath of a Kochchadaiyau or a Komaran, the Venad kings not only regained 
their lost ground, but also retaliated by invading and conquering a portion of the 
dominion of their recent conquerors and assumed, too, their style and manners 
to legitimise their hold upon the territories so added to their own ? Agreeably to 
this foreign title, we find also the no less foreign method of dating the inscription 
in the year of the sovereign's reign. '* 

From one of the grants of Martanda Varma, we learn that bamboo- 
grain and hill produce were the staple products on which hill men sub- 
sisted. To the known tax on handlooms we find here attached a tax on 
the palmyra, and it looks probable that what is meant is a tax for tapping 
and not for otherwise using that palm. Besides fines, the government of 
those days appropriated certain payments under the name of A-o-w?/?-a/jt)arfw 
literally * royal-justice-income ' . It could be taken to represent the 

260 I'HAVANcoiii: Manual. [Chap. 

court fees and judicial revL-nue of modern times. Karaippattu means 
* adhering to * or * reaching land *, and it might be taken to include treasure- 
troves, mines, jetsams and iloatsams, and all such royalties known 
to law. 

According to Shungoonny Menon, in the year 480 M. E. (1305 a. d.), 
two females from Kolathunad family were adopted by Aditya Varma who 
then reigned and they were installed as Attungal Moothatampuran 
(Senior Eani) and Attungal Elayatampuran (Junior Eani). Palaces were 
constructed at Attungal for ib.eir residence, and the country around was 
assigned to them, the revenue derived therefrom being placed at their 

The accounts of the Vaikam temple show that in 605 m. e. (1330 a, d.), 
the king assumed authority over the affairs of that temple, which 
proves that the king of Travancorc extended his sovereignty over some 
of the northern Devasinons at this period. It has to be noted that this 
information is not corroborated by any inscriptions. 

Nanjanad. A short digression is necessary here to view in brief the 
history of Nanjanad, the tract of land lying between the Kerala and Pandyan 
kingdoms. In the palmy days of the ancient Pandyan Empire, this dis- 
trict, along with the rest of South India belonged to it. When the Cholas 
conquered the Pandyas, Nanjanad passed to them by right of conquest. 
The kings of Kupaka seem very early to have claimed tlie district, for we 
saw the king of the Kupakas defeating the Pandyan king at Parali in 
1100 A. D. The country thus conquered remained with the Venad king 
Sri Koda Kerala in 1145 a. d. In 1166 A. d., Suchindram and the country 
adjoining w-ere again under the Pandyan king, Maravarman Sri Vallabh& 
About the close of the century the country seems again to have been 
reconquered by the Venad kings. Three dated inscriptions of the temple 
of Eajendracholesvaram Udaya Nayanar clearly show that the foreign 
adversaries again transfcn-med Kottar into Cholakeralapuram from 
1217 to 1265 a. D. 

It appears from some of the inscriptions of Eajendracholesvaram and 
Suchindram that one — Kochcliadaiya Varma alias Sundara Cliola Fandya 
Deva ruled over tlie whole of Nanjanad in South Travancore up to the 
11th year of his rengn, 1202 a. d. Sundara Chola Pandya Deva succeeded 
at least in subjugating the wholo of the district of which Kottar w^as the 
centre, lie .seems to have also established his authority so widely and 
well as to leave private parties to njckon their grants by the year of his 

VI.] Early History. 361 

reign, and to call an ancient hamlet like Suchindram by a new-fangled 
name Sundarachola Chaturvedimangalavi coined specially to flatter his 
vanity. Sundara Chola Pandya Kochchadaiya Vaima was by no means the 
la«t of the revived dynasty of the Pandyas to molest Travancore. This 
Sundara Pandya is identified by some scholars with the Pandya sovereign 
Jatila Varma who about 1275 a. d., is said to have " unsheathed the 
victorious weapon in order to destroy the town of Vilinjam which has the 
three waters of the sea for its ditch, whose strong and high walls which 
rub against the inner part of the receding sky rise so high that the sun 
has to retire in his course, which is as strong as the fort in the beautiful 
town of Ilankai (Ceylon), and whose lofty halls and walls are resplendent 
in jewels, conquered and destroyed the king of Venad who had a victorious 
M'my and took possession of numerous elephants resembling hills, horses 
with manes, the family treasures and the fertile country along with its 
magnificent treasures." * This certainly speaks for the prosperity of the 
country of Venad in the thirteenth century. 

About the close of the century, Jayasimha conquered part of 
Nanjanad and this partial conquest was completed by his son, the great 
Ravi Varma who w^as crowned at Conjeevaram. It was probably after 
the death of this Ra\n Varma that the district came under the sway of 
Nanji Koravan, the traditionary account of whose life may be thus briefly 

The country of Nanjanad comprised twelve pidagais or small divisions 
belonging to the two Taluqs of Tovala and Agastisvaram. After the 
downfall of the government of the Chera, Chola and Pandya kings, there 
were many petty States, each independent in itself, ruled by petty chiefs. 
At that time there was one Konangi Koravan leading the life of a hunter. 
He made his Hvelihood by making baskets &c., from the fibre of the date 
and other palms. He had two wives, the elder of whom had a son about 
eighteen years of age. He was wandering with his son and wives in the 
woods in search of date palms for making baskets and one day he came near 
Bhutapandi and saw a large bush of palm on what is called the Taduga 
Malai, a little hill to the east of it. While he was tearing the stem of the 
date leaves with his scythe, all at once the scythe was turned to a golden 
hue. He was very much surprised and caUed his wives and son to his 
side and they all began to examine the place. A well was seen there. 
All the weapons they had were dipped into it and they at once turned 

Mr. TenkRvya's Tranglation of tho Madras Miisenni plates of .Tatila VarTna--Infiinii 
Antiquary, Vol. XXIL 


262 Travancork Manual. [Chap. 

gold. They then conooalcd the well from view. Konangi Koravan soon 
became \oy\ rich. He built a house and a small hamlet around it and the 
inhabitants were all brought under his control. He increased his 
influence and power gradually and made liimself king of the Koravas. 
The probable date of his rule may be taken to be after 456 M. B. (1280 
A. D.). The villages of Cape Comorin, Suchindram &c., came gradually 
under his sway. He ruled over his subjects very kindly, the tribute paid 
to him by his subjects being only iron implements ; they were thus left in 
the undisturbed enjoyment of the whole produce of their lands. The 
Korava chief collected all iron implements from his subjects and con- 
verted them all into gold by immersing them in the well. This Konangi 
Koravan is said to have ruled over the two Taluqs for about thirty-five 
years. His son, ]3ommayya Koravan, also foUow^ed his father's ex- 
ample in ruling over his subjects kindly and considerately. He amassed 
immense wealth by turning all iron vessels and implements into gold. He 
had under his command an army of 10,000 foot and 100 elephants. He 
also gave all the produce of the fields to his subjects and looked after their 
welfare. Ho is said to have ruled for about thirty-two years. Nanji 
Koravan was the son of Bonnnayya Koravan. He w^as a very 
intelligent and capable ruler. He equipped himself with all the neces- 
sary weapons and acquired influence over the neighbouring Poligars. He 
locked after the welfare of his subjects and gained their respect and good- 
will. While thus ruling, the want of a son to succeed him made him mis- 
erable. He married seven wives and at last had a son by the seventh 
wife. He was very much gratified, invited all his subjects to his palace, 
gave them hboral charities and entertained them sumptuously. He caused 
sandal and betel to be distributed among those present enquiring of each 
to what caste he belonged. He came to know that there were several 
castes of people under his sway, of whom the Vellalas occupied the highest 
social position. The cerenjony of AnnapramnaiK or the first giving of 
rice to the child was performed with great mirth and festivity. All the 
subjects of the kingdom were invited and sumptuously fed according to 
their respective ranks and social position. The Vellalas he treated with 
especial respect and after dismissing all the other caste people he addressed 
the Vellfilas as follows : — *' You have already promised to co-operate with 
me in satisfying my eagcM- longing at the time of the birth of my child. I 
now ask you to give one of your daughters in marriage to my son ". The 
A'cllalas wore horrifiwl at this strange request and remained speechless be- 
ing unable to express their opinion boldly. At that juncture one of them by 
name Periaveettu jNhidali said that he had a female child of three months 
and that he would willingly give that child in marriage to the son of the 

VI.] Early History. 268 

ruler. All the Vellalas were then sent away with suitable presents and the 
Periaveettu Mudali was made his minister. The Vellalas joined together 
and concerted a plan to get rid of the odious Korava chief and his family. The 
Mudaliar as minister told the chief that the marriage of his child should 
not be performed like that of ordinary persons in a thatched pandal, but a 
huge mantapam of sjone should be constructed for the marriage. Accord- 
ingly the stone mantapam work was begun in earnest on a huge scale and 
it is said that the Periaveettu Mudali contrived a mechanism by which 
the stone fabric might tumble down any moment he wanted. T^-eparations 
for the marriage went on on a grand scale as soon as the boy completed 
his fifth year. All the inhabitants of the country were invited and every- 
thing was ready for the marriage. Certain ceremonies were gone through 
inside the viantapayti with the bride and the bridegroom seated on a raised 
dais. Then the Koravas were informed that it was the custom among the 
Vellalas that the bridegroom and his relations should be seated inside the 
pandal, while the bride and her mother followed by all the relations of the 
bride with music and the beating of tomtoms &c., should go round the 
pandal three times and then enter it when the Tali-tying ceremony 
should be gone through. This was of course agreed to and while all the 
Koravas were seated inside the mantapam the Vellalas went round it 
with the bride taken by the mother. At that nick of time the stone roof 
collapsed and crushed to death all the Koravas seated inside it. So ended* 
it is said, the Korava dynasty of Nanjanad. After the Koravas, the land 
was ruled by the Vellalas belonging to the family of Periaveettu Mudali 
for a very long time. 

Resuming our historical narrative, W| find that according to the frag* 
mentary inscription at Krishnan Koil, Vatasseri, there was a sovereign 
named Aditya Varma Tiruvadi who ruled over Venad on the 23rd 
Dhanu 508 M. E. (January 1333 a. d.). It was probably this king that 
transformed Krishnan Koil into Adityavarma Chaturvedhuangalam. It is 
possible that he was the inmiediate successor of Eavi Varma Kulasekhara 
Perumal of Jayasimhanad. 

The next sovereign was Sri Vira Kama Udava Martanda Vauma, 
the senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy, who reigned in Venad from the 7 th 
Makaram 511 m. e., to •21st Mithunam 518 M. E., (1336 — 1342 a. d.), 
It could be traced from the inscription of Kurandi that on the 23rd 
Mithunam 518 m. e., a chief of Kothukulam (Dyuta caste), named 
Suryan, constructed a temple and a well under the command of the 
Kothukula assembly of liajakkaneri alias Srivallabliamangalam uf Kilak- 
kalakkuru in l^audinad, to commenxorate the uunxc of this sovereiga» 

364 Travancobe Manual. [Cha^p. 

Hence it seems tliat Udaya Martanda Vanna was very kuld towairds 
foreign settlers and encouraged them very much. The Kothnknlft aBsem-" 
bly of Eajakkaneri was in affluent circumstances at the time and wu very 
skilful in winning royal favour; and they were also very charitable. 
This sovereign might have been identical with the king of whom 
Shungoonny Menon writes, '' Sri Vira Rama Ma^Jjanda Yarma, who 
was then in his 28th year was installed on the mnsnud in SIO M. E., 
( 1,335 a. d. ) ". But Shungoonny Menon makes this king rule forty years, 
while according to the inscription he could not have ruled more than nine 

At the end of the year 520 M. e. ( 1344 a. d. ), there was a sovereign 
who was known by the name of Ski Vira Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, a® 
mentioned in the temple chronicles of Sri Padmanabhaswamy. The 
chronicle reveals that on the 32nd Mithunam 520 M. E., Sri Vira Kerala 
Varma Tiruvadi made, as atonement for the sin of having murdered Desikal 
( the Brahmin emigrants ) in Nilaimelkunnu, a hilly tract in the Tainq 
of Chirayinkil, certain grants of lands to the aggrieved survivors in Vella- 
nad and Kurakkodu, and also 157 kottas of land in Munaraichnttu and 
also 30,000 fanams to the temple of Sri Padmanabhaswamy as garvakkattu 
( an amercement for overbearing conduct ) . But the actual transfer 
of lands to the aggrieved Desis, and the remittance of the sum specified 
in tlie gift to Sri Padmanabhaswamy were made by one of his succe80or% 
named Bala Martanda, according to the resolution passed at the sabha of 
Mahabharata-Konam, wlien he was in urgent need of Desis for the cele- 
bration of the local festival on the 2nd Alpasi 911 M. E. But the cir* 
cumstances under which the Brahman emigrants at Nilaimelknnnu were 
then murdered by this sovereign are yet unknown, and they are to be 
determined only on further researches. 

The inscriptions of the temple of L'daya Martandd. Vinnavaf 
Kmperuman at Putugramam alias Kaja Narayana Chaturvedimangalam 
go to prove that from the 13th Tulam 538 M. E., to 14th Chingam 
r)41 M. E. ,Shi Vika Martanda Varma III ruled over Venad and 
made gifts of lands in Teranalakya Cholanallur to the village temple. 
'J'lie iirsl writ was executed by him when he halted in the new quarters 
at Kottar and the second writ when he was at Amaravati. The transfor- 
mation of the village Putugramam into Kaja Narayana Chaturvedimangalaln 
was probably made cither by Kaja Narayana, the descendant of Nanji 
Koravan, or l)y Kulottunga I alias Rajakcsari Varman, whose reign com- 
menced* according to Pi'of. Kielhorn, between the 14th March and the 
Hth Octul)cr 1070 a. d. The temple chronicle states that in the 

VI.] Early History. fttt 

year 537 m. e., this Martanda Varma having put to death several men 
during the war that took place in several places especially in Manur 
(Kilimanur in Chirayinkil Taluq ) , made a gift of four silver pots and five 
thousand fanams as ganiakkaUu to the temple of Sri Padmanabha- 
swamy, similar to the gifts of Sri Virakerala IV. During this period 
Kottar and other portions of Nanjanad in South Travancore were proba- 
bly under foreign sway ; for one Kochchadaiya Vamian alias Tribhuvana 
Chakravai-tigal Sri Parakrama Pandya, reconstructed the temple of 
Bajendra Cholesvaram at Kottar and granted some lands in Chengala- 
kurichi to the temple of Suchindi;0,m according to the inscriptions of Kottar 
and Suchindram. The inscriptions of Bajendra Cholesvaram state that 
in the Saka Sanivat 1295 (1373 a. d ), the temple of Bajendra Cholesvaram 
Udaya Nayanar at Kottar, alias Mimomudicholanallur, in Nanjanad, was 
reconstructed by Sri Kochchadaiya alias Tribhuvana Chakravarti Sri 
Parakrama Pandya Deva during the fifth after the tenth year of his 
reign, when the sun was in Makai*am on the third day after the new 
moon which was Friday, the star being Sathayam. ¥ix>ui this it 
could be traced that this Pandya king is certainly Jatavaiman Parakrama 
Pandya whose reign commenced between the tenth of. July 1357 a. d., and 
the ninth of January 1358 a. d. His other document at Suchindram 
records that in the 28th year of his reign Jatavariuan Parakrama Pandya 
granted lands in Chengalakurichi (Tinnevelly District) to the temple of 
Mahadeva at Suchindram for the performance of Parakramapaiidya 
Sandhipuja. As this royal writ was executed by him in the 28th year 
of his reign, its date must be 1385 or 1386 a. d. (560 or 561 m. e.). It 
seems from this edict that the birthday of this Pandya king was the 
star of Mrigasiram in the month of Medam. It is therefore clear that 
Parakrama Pandya ruled over Nanjanad in South Travancore for a period 
of 12 or 13 years from the 15th to the 20th year of his reign i. e., about 
548 — 561 M. E. Hence it is reasonable to think that one of the wars 
in which several individuals were killed by Sri Vira Udaya Martanda 
Varma in the year 550 m. e., was made against Parakrama Pandya 
in South Travancore. 

Mr. P. Sundaram Pillay mentions also a king Sarvanganatha 
Aditya Varma II who built the temple of Gopalakrishnaswamy at 
Trivandrum in 1372 a. d. He was probably a governor or sub-king under 
this Martanda Varma. 

An inscription at Tiruvitancode in the Taluq of Kalkulam, shows 
that Sri Vira Eavi Varma, the Senior Tirnvadi of Tiruppapur (Kilap- 
perur), ruled over Venad in the year 558 M. e. (1383 a. d.). He seems 

266 Travancokk Manual. [Chap. 

to have boon the immediato successor of Sri Vira Udaya Martanda Var- 
um. Sri Vira Ravi Varum might have conquered Kottar and other port- 
ions of Nanjanad in South Travancore from Jatavarman Parakrama 
Paudya. Sri Vira Kerala Martanda Varma of Kilapperur and 
Martanda Varma who was the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur in Tulam 
587 M. E. (1412 A. D.), were tlie successors of this Ravi Varma. The 
chronicle reveals that in Malabar yeai* 592 (the end of 1416 A. D.), Sri 
Vira Ravi Varma, tJie vSenior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur, gmnted six silver 
pots and an elepJiant together with a hunp sum of 5,000 fanams as 
garcakkatta to Sri Padmanabhaswamy a§ an atonement for sin commit- 
ted during llic wars that took place at Karuvelankulam, Nityanadai 
and its adjoining countries. At the same time he made also some 
other gifts as an atonement for wrongly appropriating properties belonging 
to the Kurvai lUam. All the properties were restored to the owner and 
the Illam as well as all other estates belonging to the aggrieved were 
exempted from tlio usual land-tax. The war at Karuvelankulam that was 
made by this sovereign migJit have been against Jatavarman Parakrama 
Pandya» as the battle-tield was apparently in the District of Tinnevelly 
whicli was then under the sway of this Pandyan king. 

From an inscription at Alvar, about three miles to the south of Pad- 
manabhapuram in South Travancore, we learn that Martanda Varma 
"of boundless fauio and mild disjiosition " was the chief among the kings of 
Kerala in 578 ^r. i:. (1403 a. j>.). This would imply that there were at 
this period sevoial kings in Kerala. From this insci'iption we learn also 
that as late as 578 ^f. K., the measure used was kalam and not kottai 
marakal ov para/i. The word*perai' occurs as part of the name of a 
particular piece of land. This may bo traced to ' pirai ' and therefore 
to *pcru' meaning * to contain,' *to be worth' or ' to multiply.' The 
use of tlio expression * homo measure * implies that some foreign 
lueasuro was also then current in the country. Keference is made to the 
village councils of those days which, it would appear, had influence and 
indopondencc enough to obstruct the provisions of a royal chai'ter. In 
cases of such obstruction, liowever, provision was made for an appeal to 
be taken to the door of the toniplo, and therefoi'e, to the government 
authorities c(^nnectod with the temple. The caste name, Varian, occurs 
in this inscription. A temi)le in South Travancore too had then Varians 
who wore bound to do all duties in accordance with the daily piijas of the 
temple and sup[>ly a garland of liowers as iu the temples of North Tra- 

Fj'om a fragmentary inscr!i)tinuat Suchindram, wo fmd that Martanda 

VI.] Early History. 267 

Vaniia continued to rule in Saka 1332 (1410 a. d.). According to 
Shungoonny Menon the king that died in 1382 a. d., was not Martanda 
Varma, but Kavi Varma. His successor was Kerala Varma who perform- 
ed the coronation ceremonies and assumed the title of Kulasekhara Peru- 
mal. He died after a very short reign of three months. His twin-brother 
Chera Udaya Martanda Varma succeeded him. The reign of this 
Sovereign appears to have been the longest on record in the history of Tra- 
vancore. He regained all the southern possessions on the Tinnevelly side, 
and often resided at Valliyur and Cheramahadevi (Shermadevi) which once 
belonged to Travancore. In consequence of the mild and unwarHke dis- 
position of this king, some of the subordinate chiefs in the East became 
refractory, and there was constant fighting and latterly, w^hile this 
sovereign was residing at Trivandrum, the chief of Eettiapuram invaded 
Valliyur, and the king's nephew, being defeated in battle committed 
suicide. Chera Udaya Martanda Varma died in 619 M. e. (1444 a. d.) at 
the ripe age of seventy-eight. 

It should be noted here that this account of Shungoonny Menon 
differs from the information gathered from inscriptions. The differences 
here, as well as elsewhere, are difficult to reconcile, but Mr. Menon had 
no epigraphical data to guide him.^] The following surmise may however be 
safely made. I have already adverted to the fact that Travancore was 
divided into a number of small chieftainships. We see from the archaeo- 
logical accounts that a certain king of Jayasimhanad (Ravi Varma who 
was crowned at Kanchi) was a contemporary of Chera Udaya Martanda 
Varma, king of Venad, who was also called Vira Pandya Devar. Thus 
there were at least two kingdoms one at (^uilon and the other further 
south. It has already been noted that the inscription at Alvar calls 
Martanda Varma " chief among the kings of Kerala." Is it not therefore 
probable that all these were really independent chiefs who ruled over 
small portions of territory ? In his own kingdom each Rajah was a great 
king ; but the poor gifts to temples which the inscriptions record, indicates 
the smallness of their possessions. 

Accounts of Travellers. Al Idrisi, the greatest of Arab geo- 
graphers, who flourished in the twelth century, and who lived for some 
time at the court of the enlightened Roger. II of Sicily, gives some interest- 
ing information regarding Malabar. But as he obtained it chiefly from 
books and from travellers and had no personal knowledge of the countries 
he wrote about, his account is much confused. 

" From Bana (Tanna) to Fandarina is four days' journey. Fandarina is a 

268 Travancoi^k Manual. [Cha?. 

town built at the mouth of a river which comes from Manibar (Malabar) where 
vessels from India and Sind cast anchor. The inhabitants are rich, the markets 
well supplied, and trade flourishing. North of this town there is a verj' high 
mountain covered with trees, villages and flocks. The cardmon grows here and 
forms the staple of a considerable tmde. It grows like the grains of hemp, and 

the grains are enclosed in pods From Fandarina to Jirbatan, a populous 

town on a little river, is five days. It is fertile in rice and gram, and supplies 
provisions to the markets of Sarandib. Pepper grows in the neighbouring 

This was the person who wrote that the pepper vine grows nowhere 
else but in Fandarina (Northern Qui Ion) , Jirbatan ( Srikandapuram) 
and the large and pretty island of Mali, and asserted that the pepper 
vine leaves curl over the bunches of grapes to protect them from rain 
and return to their natural p >6ition afterwards — 'a surprising fact'! 

Al Kazwini (12(38-1275 A. D.) is another Mahomedan geographer who 
C50iupiled his account of India from the works of others. Among other 
places, he mentions '* Kulani, a large city in India. Mis'arbin MuhaJhil^ 
who visited the place, says that he did not see either a temple or an idol 
there. WTien their king dies, the people of the place choose another from 
China.* There is no i)hysician in India except in this city. The build- 
ings are curious, for the pillars are (covered with) shells from the backs 
of fishes. The inhabitants do not eat fish, nor do they slaughter animate, 
but they eat carrion " ; and he goes on to describe the pottery made there 
and contrasts it with Chinaware. " There are places here where the teak 
tree grows to a very gi-eat height exceeding even one hundred cubits." 

Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveller, had in 1275 A. D., 
gone to the court of Kublai Khan, had risen high in Chinese service, and 
\nsited Quilon and other places when he was a Chinese mandarin nnder 
him. Kublai must have had a good deal of diplomatic intercourse with 
Quilon. From the CJnnese Amiah, we learn that in 1282 A. d., Bome 
envoys from the king of Qnilon landed at Zayton (T*Bwan-chau), the diief 
port of China at tliat time, w-ith presents of various rarities, and that the 
king of Quilon w^as called Pinate (or Benate which represents the lord of 
Venad). The royal residence was called Apuliota. 

Marco Polo on his w\ay home to Venice in the suite of the Prinoess 
Kokachin visited (Quilon in 1298 a. d. He spent a long time in Malabar. 
He has given interesting descriptions of Quilon, Comorin and Malabar. 

Of th(* kingdom of Quilon {Coilitm) he says : — 

* Probably n iiiis-stntoment for Cheni. 

VI.] Early History. 209 

"When you quit Maabar •' and go 500 miles towards the south-west you 
come to the kingdom of Coilum. The people are Idolaters, but there are also 
some Christians and some Jews. The natives have a language of their own, 
and a king of their own, and are tributary to no one. A great deal of brazil is 
got here, which is called brazil CoHu nin from the country which produces it ; it 
is of very fine quaUty. Good ging3r also grows here, and it is known by the 
same name of Coilumhi after the country. Pepper too grows in gi^eat abundance 
throughout this country, and I will tell you how. You must know that the 
pepper-trees are (not wild but) cultivated, being regularly planted and watei-ed ; 
and the pepper is gathered in the months of May, June and July. They have 
also abundance of very fine indigo, t This is made of a certain herb which is 
gathered, and (after the roots have been removed) is put into great vessels upon 
which they pour water and then leave it till the whole of the plant is decomposed. 
They then put this liquid in the sun, which is tremendously hot here, so that it 
boils and coagulates, and becomes such as we see it. The merchants from 
Manzi (China), and from Arabia, and from the Levant come thither with their 
ships and their merchandise and make great profits both by what they import and 
by what they export. There are in this country many and diverse beasts quite 
difierent from those of other parts of the world. Thus there are lions black all 
over, with no mixture of any other colour ; and there are parrots of many sorts, 
for some are white as snow with red beak and feet, and some are red, and some 
are blue, forming the most charming sight in the world ; there are green ones 
too. There are also some parrots of exceeding small size, beautiful creatures. 
They have also very beautiful peacocks larger than ours, and different ; and they 
have cocks and hens quite different from ours ; and what more shall I say ? In 

short, everything they have is different from ours, and finer and better. 

Com they have none but rice. So also their wine they make from (palm) sugar ; 
capital drink it is and very speedily it makes a man drunk. All other necessaries 
of man's life they have in great plenty and cheapness. They have verj- good 
astrologers and physicians. Man and woman — they are all black and go naked, 
all save a fine cloth worn about the middle. They look not on any sin of the 
flesh as a sin. They marry their cousins german, and a man takes his brother's 
wife after the brother's death; and all the people of India have this custom." 

This is his account of Comari or Comorin : — 

** Comari is a country' belonging to India, and there you can see some- 
thing of the North Star which we had not been able to see from the Lesser Java 
thus far. In order to see it you must go some 30 miles out to sea, and then you 
see it about a cubit above the water. This is a very wild country, and there 
are beasts of all kinds there, especially monkeys of such pecuUar fashion, that 
you would take them for men! There are also yat pants (a kind of ape?) in 
wonderful diversity, with bears, lions, and leopards in abundance. *' 

Of Melibar he says. 

* ** ICaabar wae the name given by the Mahomednns in the 13th and 1-kh comurieB to a 
tract corresponding in a general way to what we caU the Coromandel Coast. Tlie word in 
Arabic signifies the passage or ferry, and may have referred either to the commnnioation with 
Ceylon, or, as is more probable, to its being in that age, the coast most frequented by travellers 
from Arabia and the Gnlf ". Yule's Maroo Polo, Vol. II. Pago 332. According to Abulfeda 
whose geography was completed about 1321 A. D. Cape Comorin was the point where Mala- 
bar ended and Maabar began. But Wassaf, an eariier writer, says that M«abar extended in 
length from KauJarn (Quilon) to NOxiitar ^Nellore). 

t No indigo is made or exported at Qnilon now, but still there is the export of 8ap])an.wo<Mi, 
ginger and pepijor. 

270 Travancore Manval. [Chap. 

'' Melibar is a groat kingdom lying towards tbc west. The people are ido- 
laters ; they have a language of their own and a king of their own and pay tri- 
bute to nobody.** 

He then proceeds to describe the pirates of Melibar and of Gozurat, and 
their tactics in forming sea-cordons with a large number of vessels each 
five or six miles apart, communicating news to each other by means of 
fire or smoke, thereby enabling all tlie corsairs to concentrate on the point 
where a prize was to be found. Then he goes on to describe the com- 
merce :— 

" There is in this kingdom a gi'eat quantity of pepper, and ginger, and cinnamon, 
and turbit, and of nuts of India. 'I'hey also manufacture very delicate and 
beautiful buckrams, 'llie ships that come from the east bring copper in ballast; 
They also bring hither cloths of silk and gold and sandels ; also gold and silver, 
cloves and spikenard and other fine spices, for which there is a demand here, 
and exchange these for the products of these countries. Ships come hither from 
many quarters, but especially from the great province pi Manzi. Coarse spices 
are exported hence both to Manzi and to the west and that which is carried by 
the merchants to Aden goes on to Alexandria, but the ships that go in the 
Latter direction are not one to ten of those that go to the eastward ; a very 
notable fact that i have mentioned l)efore." '•'' 

FnwR JoRDANi's OF Severac. In 1324 a. d., Friar Jordanus of 
Sevei'ac came to Quilon and spent some years in mission work among 
the Nestoriaus. He was subsequently nominated Bishop of the See of 
Kaulam, latinised as Kolumhum, He is the first writer who gives an 
account of the Mariunakkattayam law. The king of Quilon was a 
Nayar Liugayet and the commercial wealth of the port had made the 
kingdom powerful. Jordanus built St. George's Church and established 
Christians at Quilon and other towns on the coast. In his Mirabilia 
Deficrijytia, Jordanus pays a noble tribute to the rulere of Malabar for 
their toleration and mildness and gives a favoumble account of the charac- 
ter of the people. ** The people " he says, " are clean in their feeding, 
true in speech and eminent in justice, maintaining carefully the privileges 
of every man according to his degree, as they have come down from old 
times. " He also speaks highly of the astrologers and physicians of Mala- 
bar. : 

Friati Odoric. Ahnost at the same time. Friar Odoric of Podre- 
nore, a native of Bohemia, visited Malabar on his way to China. He 

* Yule's Tmvcls of Mnrco Polo Vol. II. Papc 390. 

X (Jnspor ('oiToa, tlie liiatorinn of Poriupiiofio India, jfivos n story of a Knniau or astro- 
lourer Hvin;r J«f C'iniiuinon* nbont tliroo liundred or four huTidrod yoars Iwfore the arrival of the 
Portiiiriieso "wlio liml kucIi a j^nvat rc'putatioii for asfrolopy that his ])redictioiiR were committed 
to wriiin^', ouo of wliich rolat«Ml to the arrival of Kiiropeans from the west who would att:iin 
siipreina<\v of India. " 

VI. ] Eakly History. i7l 

reached Paaidaa-ani near Calicut, touched at Chaliat, Kodungalur and 
Quilon ; in the last two places, he met several Jews. He mentions the 
great respect paid to the cow by the Hindus, as does Friar Jordanus too. 

Ibn Batuta. a few years later, Quilon was visited by the great 
traveller Abu AbduUa Mahomed, better known as Ibn Batuta, the greatest 
traveller of the Arabian race. He left his native coimtry Tangiers for a 
pilgrimage in the 725th year of the Hejira (1324-1325 a. d.). His coming 
to Quilon forms an interesting episode in tlic history of the time. 
After passing through various parts of the world in 1332, he passed over 
from Afghanistan to the Court of Mahomed Tughlak at Delhi where he 
was made chief judge. About 1347 a. d., an embassy came from China 
seeking permission to rebuild a Buddha temple in the Himalayas, much 
frequented by the Chinese pilgrims. Ibn Batuta was selected to answer 
the embassy and he with a lai-ge retinue started from Delhi. The party 
embarked in country ships in the Gulf of Cambay and landed at Calicut 
where he was the guest of the Zainorin. ^^^len they were about to start, 
a sudden storm arose, the ships were obhged to put out to sea and Ibn 
Batuta who was on shore was thus cut off from his ship. He then travel- 
led by backwater to Quilon to reach the ships, but the storm destroyed 
them. Batuta was not willing to go to Delhi, so he stayed three years 
wandering in the Malabar cities. His account of Malabar covers 100 
pages in a French translation. What was a loss to the Emperor's embassy 
turned out to be a gain to the early history of Malabar, for he was a 
prolific writer of the places and things he visited. He describes Quilon as 
*'one of the finest cities in Malabar with magnificent markets and very 
wealthy merchants". The king was a person called Attrewery (Tiruva<li 
or Royal feet), " eminent for his strict and terrible justice ". Here is an 
interesting picture of criminal justice of the times. He writes : — 

'* During my stay at Kaulam, a Persian archer, wlio was wealthy 
and influential, killed one of his comrades ana then took refuge in the 
house of one Alawedji. The Mussulmans wanted to buiy the dead body, but 
the oflicers of the king would not allow them to do so, until the miu'derer was 
seized and punished. The officers of the king took the dead body in a bier 
to the gate of Alawedji and left it there to rot. The smell soon compelled 
Alawedji to hand over the murderer to the officers of the king, who refused a 
large bribe offered by the Persian, and had him forthwith tried and executed. 
The lx)dy of the victim was then buried. " 

This barbarous custom might perhaps have been introduced into 
Quilon from China where it appears to prevail even now, Quilon being 
then the port most frequented by Chinese ships. Calicut hail already be- 
come a groat rival ul Quilon. The trade with the West, Arabia, ligyj^t, 


372 TnAVA^•cul<li Manual. [Chaj». 

and Venice wdH absorbed by Calicut, while the trade with the Eftst, 
Bengal and Malaccas remained with Quilon. The following is his des- 
cription of Malabar : — 

" We next came into the country of Malabar which is the country of black 
pepper. Its length is a journey of two months along the shore from Sindabnr 
to Kawlam. Tlie whole of the way by land lies under the shade of 
trees and at the distance of every half mile there is a house made of Wood in 
which there are chanilxjrs tit tod up for the reception of comers and goerBi 
wlitither they be Moslems or infidels. To each of these there is a well, out of 
which they drink: and over each is an infidel appointed to give drink. To the 
infidels he supplies this in vessels ; to the Moslems he pours it in their hands. 
They do not allow the Moslems to touch their vessels, or to enter into their 
apartments; but if any one should happen to eat out of one of their vessels, they 
break it to pieces. But in most of their districts the Mussalman merchants 
have houses and are gieatly resixjcted. So that Moslems who are strangers, 
whether they are merchants or poor may lodge among them. But at any town 
in which no Moslem resides, upon any one's arriving they cook, and pour out 
drink for him, upon the leaf of the banana; and whatever he happens to leave is 
^iven to the dogs. And in all this space of two months' journey, there is not a 
span free from cultivation. For everybody has here a garden, and his house UB 
placed in the middle of it ; and round the whole of this there is a fence of wood, 
up to which the ground of each inhabitant comes. No one travels in these parts 
upon beasts of burden ; nor is there any horse found, except with the king who 
is therefore the only person who rides. When, however, any merchant has to 
sell or buy goods, they are cairied upon the backs of men, who are always ready 
to do so (for hire). 

" pjvery one of these men has a long staff, which is shod with iron at its 
extremity and at the top has a hook. When, therefore, he is tired with his 
burden, he sets up his staff in the earth like a pillar and places the burden upon 
it ; and when he has rested, he again takes up his burden without the assistance 
of another. W'ith one merchant you will see one or two hundred of these 
carriers, the mercJiant liimself walking. But when the nobles pass from place 
to place, they ride in a dulo made of wood, something hke a box, and whidi is 
carried upon the shoulders of slaves and hirelmgs. They put a thief to death 
for stealing a single nut, or even a grain of seed of any fruit, hence thieves are 
unknown among them ; and should anything fall from a ti-ee, none exoepit its 
proper owner, would attempt to touch it. 

" In the country of Malabar are twelve kings, the greatest of whom has 
fifty thousand troops at his command; the least five thousand or thereabouts. 
Tliat which separates the district of one king from that of another is a woodsn 
gate upon which is wiilten : • The gate of safety of such an one'. For, when 
any criminal escapes from the district of one kin^' and gets safely into thai ol 
another, lu? is fjuito safe ; so that no one has the least desire to take hini so 
long as he reniaifis there. 

" Each of their king^ siiccet^ls to rule, as being sister's son, not the sod to 
tlie last. Their country is that from which black pep])er is brought; and this is 
the far greater part of their produce and cidture. The pepper tree resemUeS 
that of the daik p'ape. They plant it near that of the coooanut, and make 
frame-work for it, just as they do for the graj)e tree. Tt has. however, no 
tendrils, and the tree itself prsmihles a buncli ol grapes. The leaves are like the 
earb ot a horse ; hut some ol' them vc:5eujl.>le the leave-i of u bramble. When the 

VI.] Early History. iT8 

autumn arrives, it is ripe ; they then cut it, and spread it just as tliey do grapes, 
and thus it is dried by the sun. As to what some have said that they boil it in 
order to dry it, it is without foundation. I also saw in their country and on the 
sea-shores aloes, like the seed-aloe, sold by measure, just as meal and millet is." 

Marignolli of Florence, the Papal Legate, \dsited Quilon 
in 1347 A. D., on his way to Europe from China — Quilon which he called 
*' the very noble city of Colunibum where the whole world's pej^per is 
produced'*. He lived for over a year at Quilon and preached in the Latin 
Church of St. George founded by Jordanus and got one hundred gold 
fanams every month as his tithe. There is still a Syrian Church of St. 
George at Quilon and a mosque. A vague tradition of extensive trade 
with China still survives. He gives a ravishing account of Malabar. 
Being an ambitious man, he wished that the people of Quilon should 
never forget his name. According to his own accomit, 

" And after I had been there sometime, I went beyond the glory of Alex- 
ander the Great, when he set up his column. For I erected a stone as my lan(^- 
mork and memorial and anointed it with oil. In sooth, it was a marble pillar 
with a stone-cross on it, intended to last till the world's end. And it had the 
Pope's arms and my own engraved on it with inscriptions both in Indian and 
m Latin characters. I consecrated and blessed it in the presence of an infinite 
multitude of people and I was carried on the shoulders of the chiefs in a litter 
or palanquin like Solomon's. So after a year and four months I took leave of the 

But though the monument lasted for several centuries being washed 
away by the sea only a few years ago, it did not serve to keep fresh the 
name of Marignolli. The inscriptions were destroyed by the climate and 
the sea-air. The pious Christians of Quilon, however, attributed the pillar 
to St. Thomas, the founder of their Chm-ch and revered it as a proof of the 
visit of the great Apostle of the Indies to the shores of Malabar. 

PAitT in. (1400—1600 A. D.). 

dtate of South India. Before passing on to the history of 
the next century, it will be necessary to note the great events 
in South Indian history at this period. Reference has already 
been made to the supremacy of the Cholas, Pallavas, Western 
Chalukyas and the Eashtrakutas of South India. About the end of the 
tenth century the Rashtrakutas were superseded by the Western 
Chalukyas xmder Tailappa II. The Hoysala Ballalas appeared in 1080 
A. D., and took i^ossession of the Kongu territoiies. How the Cholas 
revived under Kolottunga Chola and how the Pandyan capital was incor- 
porated into itb dominioub in 1070 a. d., has already been stated. 

274 Travancoke Manual. [Chap. 

In the iii-st half of the twelfth centiu-y a. d., the Hoysala Bftllalas of 
Halabid were the rising power in the south. Their king Vishnuvardhana 
took Talakad, the Ganga or Kongu capital, and brought that dynasty to a 

" A few years later (a. d. 1182 or 1189) the suzerains of the Kongus — ^the 
Western Chalukya dynasty, came to an end in the reign of Somesvara Deva, the 
last king of that branch of the family, that territory being swallowed up by the 
Yadavas of Devagiri coming from the north, and by the Bijjala of Kulabhuri]^ 
Kula who was in turn supplanted by the Ballalas advancing from the south. "* 

It was about this time that the Chola territories were invaded by the 
king of Ceylon on the south, apparently in aid of the Pandyas, and by 
the Warrangal dynasty in the north. The Ballalas took Canara in 
their movement southward and they called this country Kerala ; but it 
does not appear that they had anything to do with Kerala Proper or 

In the beginning of the fourteenth century, Southern India was convul&> 
cd by a Mahomedan invasion from the north under Malik Kafur (1310 A. D.)« 
Mr. Logan says, "It has sometimes been supposed that the Malabar Coast 
fell in common with the rest of the Peninsula before the Mahomedans 
at this time; but there is nothing to show that this was the case and 
the name applied at this time by Marco Polo (1293 A. D.) and by 
Il)n Batuta (1342 — 1347 A. i>.) to the eastern portion of the peninsula — 
namely, Maabar, probably gave rise to the idea.** Both Chola and 
l^andya kingdoms, however, succumbed to the Mahomedans, but Kerala 
escaped probably owing its immunity from invasion to its dense forests 
and mountain fastnesses. 

With the founding of the Vijayanagar dynasty in 1336 A. D., a neW 
political influence appeared in the south. Before the century expired, the 
kingdom of Vijayangar had extended itself to the whole of the Peninsula. 
The establishment of the Bahmani kingdom and its contests with Yijaya* 
nangar and the final supj'cmacy of the latter do not concern us here. It 
may be noted liere that '* the Mahomedans continued their raids into 
Southern India during the fourteenth century, and in 1374, in one of thesei 
under Mujabid Shah of the Bahmani dynasty, they came as far south as 
Kamesvaram, but the rapid rise and extension of the Vijayanagar Baj in 
the last half of the century put an end for a time to these Mahomedan 
raids into the south." 

TIjo Mulubnr Manuul, Vuj. I. PH-ry -js,*. 

VI.] Early History. 27B 

Even in Malabar, whic h was free from such expeditions, Mahomedan 
influence was on the increase and it is not improbable that owing to this 
circumstance the influence of the Zamorin was in the ascendant at the end 
of the fourteenth centm-y as he was in close touch with the Mahomedan 
merchants of Calicut, a port which attracted considerable trade by the 
safety and faciUty it gave. According to Mr. Logan, 

** One of the first effects of this Mahomedan alliance seems to have been 
that the trading rivals of the Mahomedans, the Chinese merchants whose fleets 
Ibn Batuta so graphically descril^es, received some bad usage at the Zamorin*s 
hands, and deserted CaUcut and the Malabar coast generally after undertaking an 
expedition of revenge in which they inflicted no small slaughter on the people of 
Calicut. This happened, Colonel Yule thinks, about the beginning of the 
fifteenth century." ' 

Internal History. From 1444 to 1G80 a. d., all that we have 
in the shape of history is but a list of names of kings and their dates. 

„ . , 619—633 M. E. 

VenadMootha Rajah — 144^^-14.58 aId. 

. . ^ , ^. 633-646 M.E. 

Sri Vira Martanda Varma — i458"i47f a. i). 

6 46—653 M. E. 

Aditya Varma — 1471-1478 a. d. 
Ravi Varma - ,^.ti«^M^ 

1478-1504 A. D. 

Sri Vira Ravi Varma - ^^'^: 
Martanda Varma - |^1|^„; 
Udaya Martanda Varma - 71^730 M. e. 

1537—1650 A. U. 

Kei-ala Vai-ma - /^^^'l",,^; ^ 

1550—1553 A. D. 

Aditya Vaima- 738-742 M. E. 

Udaya Martanda Varma 

1553—1567 A. D. 

742-769 M. E. 

1567— 1594 A. D. 

)— 779 M. E. 

Sri Vira Ravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal — jgg^-.jQo^^ jj 
Sri Vi» varma- ^gzlt-i 

Unni Ker.1. Varm» - - /^^j^ 

* The Malabar Manual, Vol. I. Pajce 294. 

878 Travancope Manual. [Chap. 

Unni Kerala Varma - -jg^E^S^V 
Aditva Varma- 836-852 M. E. 

1661—1677 A. D. 

The inscriptions no doubt give some more information but of a meagre 
kind. But there is a difficulty about the names of some of the kings. 
Two or more kings of the same dynasty are mentioned as ruling at the 
same time. It may be that both were independent chiefs ruling over snuJl 
tracts. Or it may be that the senior associated the junior with him in 
governmental affairs e. g. , we find the Mogul Emperors appointing their 
sons governors of provinces. Or again it may be that one of them 
is the reigning sovereign while the other is only a member of the family 
making certain gifts under his sanction. 

Mention has ah-eady been made of Sri Vira Ravi Bavi Varma, 
the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur,* who ruled in Venad in 592 M. B. 
(141G— 1417 A. D.). 

The next ruler we meet with is Sri Vira Rama Martanda Vaema 
KuLASEKiiARA. A Vattczliuttu inscription at Tirimavaykulam in the 
Taluk of Cliirayinkil records that in 014 M. k. ( 1439 a. d. ), Sri Vira Bama 
Martanda Varma Kulasekhara of Kilapperur, the Senior Tiruvadi of 
Venad, constructed a granite temple of fine workmanship with the inant4i- 
pam and the inner shrine roofed with copper plates. In connection with 
this, the temple chronicles of Sri Padmanabhaswamy state that Sri Vira 
Rama Martanda ruled over Venad till the 21st Kanni64t M. E. (1468 
A. I). ), and two writs were issued by him concerning the temple arrange- 
ments, one on the 19th Dhanu 634 M. K. ( 1459 a. d. ) and the other on the 
20th Makaram C3(3 m. e. ( 1401 a. d. ). On the 21st Kanni 644 m. e. (1468 
A. D.), tliis Rama Martanda Varma Kulasekhai'a Perumal of Jayasinihanad 
made a gift of 13,000 fanams to cover the cost of making a golden elephantt 
and 360 fanams for four silver pots for Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in 
order to expiate the sin committed by him during the war against Jaya- 
simhanad. The chief against whom this war was made cannot now be 

Another Prince Ciikmpaka Aditya Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of 
Siraivoy, is also mentioned as a ruling king of the period. On the 20th 

* TinipiMii»\ir is n villiige ten miles north of Trivundium from which the Travancora 
kings tako their tif lo * Tirnpimi»ur Swnnipani * . From n religious point of view this ii an im- 
portaut pla(?e as the Travancore Maharajahs havo to jjo there and worship at the tfimple at the 
lime of Their <«oro!iat ioti ceremoiiieB. 

lime of TlK'ir eorotiatioti ceremoiiieB. 

VI.] Eauly History. 277 

Edavam 630 m. e. ( 1455 a. d. ), he consecrated an image of Gangadhara in 
the Krishnancoil at Vatasseri. It looks strange that a Siva image should 
be put into a Vaishnava temple. This Aditya Varma and Eama Mar- 
tanda Varma Kulasekhara Perumal might have been co- kings, i. e,, mem- 
bers of the same family in charge of different portions of the country, rul- 
ing on behalf of the head of the family and under his authority. It is 
equally probable that Venad and Jayasimhanad which became one king- 
dom in the reigns of Ravi Varma Kulasekhara and his successors were 
again separated into two kingdoms ruled respectively by Martanda Varma 
and Aditya Varma who according to the inscriptions belong to the Tirup- 
papur (Jayasimhanad) and Siraivoy (Attungal or Venad) dynasties re- 

At that period there was also one queen of the Kupaka family who was 
known by the name of Kulasekhara Nambirattiyar. The temple of 
Kariyamanikka Vinnavar Emperumal at the village of Idaraikudi in the 
Taluq of Agastisvaram was constructed by this queen with an additional 
sopanayn and mantapajii. This work was completed and consecrated 
by her on the 30th Medam G43 M. e. ( May 1468 A. D. ). This temple was 
probably founded by a Pandyan or other foreign king Kariyamanikka and 
named after himself. 

The next Prince of whom the epigraphical records give some in- 
formation is Sri Vira Rama Varma ali<is Chempaka Rama Varma of 
Jayasimhanad, the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur. An inscription in the 
temple of Suchindram records certain gifts made by this king for the 
performance of daily pujas in that temple. From this inscription we 
learn that the reign of Sri Vira Rama Varma commenced even before 
1468 a. d. , that the market rates of the goods and aroraatics mentioned 
in it were only one-seventh of the present rates and that the measure- 
ments of the lands and grains were then the same as they were at the 
time of his predecessors. 

There was on the 1st of Kumbhom 647 M. E., (1472 a. d.) a king 
by the name of Sri Vira Kodai Aditya Varma of Kilapperur, Jaya- 
simhanad, the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy according to the temple 
chronicles of Sri Padmanabhaswamy. But beyond this bare fact 
nothing could be ascertained except that he might have been one of 
the co-regents at the time. There is an inscription to prove that Aditya 
Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Jayasimhanad, as well as his younger 
brother named Rama Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy, reigned on 
the 14th Kumbhom 659 m. e. (1484 a. d.). This latter may be identical with 

278 Travaxcork Manual. l-- 

Sri Vira Kocki Aditya Varma who flonrishecl in Venad in 1472 A. D. But 
he is mentioned in tlie temple chronicles as the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy 
while Aditya Varma of 1484 a. d., is clearly referred to in the inscrip- 
tion as the Senior Tiruvadi of Jayasimhanad, Kilapperur. On this basis 
the reign of Sri Vira Kodai Aditya Varma may be taken as having lasted 
up to the year 1484 a. d. His younger brother Uama Varma was proba- 
bly his co-regent under the title of the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy. 

Sri Vira Eavi Ravi Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppa^ 
pur, ruled over Venad for a period of thirty-two years from 654 to 686 
M. E. (1479-1512 A. D.). for the first five years of which he ruled probably 
as co-regent. The temple chronicle records that on the 3rd Karkadagam 
673 M. E. (1498 A. D.), Sri Vira llavi Ravi Varma made a gift of twelve 
silver pots and granite images as an atonement for sin committed in a 
fight which took place at the northern entrance of Sri Padmanabhaswamy 
tjmple, and that he granted some lands adjoining the tank of Viranaraya- 
naseri to the aggrieved parties. It states also that on the 24th Medam 
675 M. E. (1500 A. D.), he gave 5,000 fanams as f/arvakkattu together with 
a silver vessel to the temple of Sri Padmanabhaswamy to expiate the sin 
of having destroyed several villages at that time. Ravi Varma having 
killed several people during the fights that took place in the year 682 M. E., 
(1507 A. D.) made another gift of twenty-seven silver vessels to the same 
temple together with the grant of lands at Vembanur, Kaladi and Kappukal. 
It appears from these gifts that at this period several small battles were 
fought between the years (573 and (582 m. e. (1498-1507 a. d.) during 
which many people were killed. The inscriptions also make mention of 
several princes at the time. Of these Aditya Varma and Udaya Mab- 
TANDA Varma wei e reigning sovereigns. Jayasimha Deva (afterwards Jaya- 
simha II) and Sakalakalai (Sarvanganatha) Martanda Varma were proba- 
l)ly their co-regents. 

There is also evidence to show that at this lime some other princes 
also ruled over sviall bits of territories showing dividtid authority and in- 
ternal dissensions in the ruhng family. 

Of the abovo-mentioned co-regents, Jayasimha Deva II reigned in 
Venad in the year G61 m. e. (1480 a. d.), and Sakalakalai Mar- 
TANDA Vahma al out (i70 M. E. (1495 A. D.). The latter established a 
temple of Vinayakar at the village of Maiungur in Agastisvaram Taluq 
afctr his own name. His coat of arms consisted of three swords, a drum, a 
bow and an arrow, all of which formed his escutcheon ; that of JaySsimha II 
consisted of the divine thunderl>olt after the manner of Indra's 

VL] Eakly History. 279 

Vajrayudfuini, an umbrella, a chowri, a flag and one Purnakumbham. 
The same ensigns, were used by the kings of Jayasimhanad even at the 
commencement of the second quarter of the sixteenth century a. d. Of 
Jayasimha II, we gather the following information from the pillar in- 
scription of Parasurama Perunteru in Kottar. On the 1st Chittrai 661 m. E., 
(1486 A. D.) the crowned king of the Chera family by name Jayasimha De- 
var came on tour to Vatasseri in South Travancore. The Brahmins, the 
Pillamars and the other superior sections of the community looked down 
upon the inhabitants of Parasurama Perunteru who earned their bread by 
dyeing clothes and who had come from distant lands and colonised the said 
Perunteru. They further kept them aloof saying that they were of low 
origin and that they belonged to the left hand caste of the community. 
They were subjected to further hardships by being prevented from paying 
their respects to the king except through themselves, and that they should 
not worship the village gods as the high class people did, that they should 
readily submit to pay any kind of tax levied upon them and that, if any of 
these rules were infringed, they would be subjected to corporal punish- 
ment and forbidden from living even in their own village or from using 
the village wells. The poor people took advantage of the Eoyal presence 
in their midst and prayed for redress of their grievances. The king Jaya- 
simha Deva was pleased to grant them audience and after hearing them 
issued orders to the following effect : — 

(1) That if they had any grievances to be redressed they might 
appear before the king and acquaint him of the same whenever h 3 came 
in procession on his elephant; 

(2) That they need pay no other tax than that for the maintenance of 
the navy, viz.y kappalvari (^uuweiuft) and that of the army, viz., padai^ 

(3) That the superior classes ( including the right hand castes) should 
not interfere with their religious worsliip, with the celebration of their 
festivals, nor with the use of the necessary flags and other appendages 
within certain limits exclusively set apart for their use ; 

(4) That no injustice should be done to them ; 

(6) That they should be allowed free use of the public wells and tanks ; 

(6) And that any interference on the part of the Brahmins, Pillamars 
and other superior sections of the community with the affairs of the 
left hand caste would meet with lioyal displeasure and be punished 

2d0 Travancore Manual. [C^Ltf. 

It may be pointed out here that the king*s order to allow these low bom 
subjects of the left hand castes to approach him whenever he came in 
procession on an elephant is based on the old orthodox belief that the pKe- 
sence of an elephant purifies a crowd and no pollution ensues by the 
approach of low castes then. We may add that tliis feeling of tolenuoGe 
is characteristic of the Maharajahs of Travancore though suflScient credit 
was net always given them for it in later times. Needless to state that 
this humane order allowing full privileges to the people of low castes. 
for using public wells and tanks, and dispensing justice to thein all 
impartially and prohibiting the Brahmins, Pillamars and other high 
castes from molesting them under pains and penalties, reflects great 
credit on the early sovereigns of Travancore who ruled five centuries 
before our time and shows in them possession of rare tact and talent for 
conciliating conflicting interests. 

Accounts of Travellers for the period. It may be of some 

interest to refer to the accounts given by the various travellers who 
visited the coast in the fifteenth century, which give a general idea 
of some of the sea-coast towns, their rulers and population. 

Mahuan visited the coast in 1409 A. D. He writes of Cochin thus : — 

** The king or raler is of the solar race and is a sincere believer of Buddhisai 
and has the greatest reverence for elephants aad oxen and eveiy morning at day- 
light presents himself before an image of Buddha. Tlic king wears no clothing 
on the upper part of his person ; he has simply a squai'e of silk wound round his 
loins kept in place by a cloured waist band of the same material and on his head 
a turban of yellow or white cotton cloth. The houses are built of the woed of 
the cocoanut tree and are thatched with its leaves. There are five classes of 
men. The Nayars rank with the king. In the first class are those who shave 
their beards and have a thread or string over their shoulders. These are looked 
upon as belonging to the noblest families. * In the second are Mahomedans* the 
third the Chetties who are the capitalists ; in the fourth Kohngs who act as com- 
mission agents, the fifth the Mukuvas, ] the lowest and poorest of all. The 
merchants of the countiy carry on their business as psdlars do in China. All 
trading transactions are carried on l)y the Chetties who buy and sell pepper 
to foreign ships and buy and collect precious stones and other costly wares. 
The coinage of the country is a gold piece called a fanam; there is also a 
little silver coin called a htnrha (worth half a penny) — fifteen hnului make one 
fanam. There are no asses or geese in the comitry, neither wheat nor barley; 
rice, maize, hemp and millet alx)und. " f 

NicoLO CoNTi, a Venetian noble, also visited Malabar in the earlier part 
of the fifteenth century. He says that after having quitted Java he bent 

• Tbia pix>bul)ly rcfcrn to the nrabmius. 

X The fislieriuen on the sea-coast. 

t Jounml of the !{oyal Asiutir SucictN I'lH" Ajuil isiHi/ 

Vl.] Eably History. tel 

his course westward to a maritime city called Ciampa which joarney occupi- 
ed him one month, and departing thence he in a hke space of time reached 
Coleon (Quilon), *'a noble city the circumference of which is twelve miles". 
The province he calls Melibaria ( Malabar ) , where ginger, pepper, brazil 
wood and cinnamon are collected. He accurately describes the jack tree, 
which he calls cachi. '' A tree grows here in great abundance, the trunk of 
which produces fruit resembUng the pine-apple, but so large as to be lifted 
with difficulty by one man ; the rind is green and hard, but yields never- 
theless to the pressure of the finger. Within are from two hundred to 
three hundred apples resembling figs, very sweet to the taste, and which 

are separated from each other by follicles The fruit of this tree is 

sometimes found under the earth in its root ; these excel the others in 
flavour and for this reason it is the custom to set these apart for royal 
use'*. He also describes the mango under the name of amba (Sans. 

Abd-ek-Razzak visited Malabar in 1442 a. d. From him we learn 
that the Chinese influence on the Malabar Coast had then declined com- 
pletely and that the whole trade was in the hands of the Mahomedans 
from the west. He gives a very interesting account of his sojourn at 
Calicut, which he describes as a "perfectly safe harbour'. He bears 
testimony also to the excellence of the Zamorin's rule which may be taken 
as the type of administration then in vogue on the coast generally. 

" Security and justice are so firmly established in this city that the most 
wealthy merchants bring thither from maritime countries considerable cargoes, 
which they unload, and unhesitatingly send into the markets and the bazaars, with- 
out thinking in the meantime of any necessity of checking the accounts or of keep- 
ing watch over the goods. The ofiicers of the custom-house take upon them- 
selves the charge of looking after the merchandise, over which they keep watch 
day and night. When a sale is efifected, they levy a duty on the goods of one- 
fortieth part ; if they are not sold, they make no charge on them whatever." 

Of the people he says : — 

" The blacks of this country have the lx)dy nearly naked. In one hand 
they hold an Indian poignard which has the brilliance of a drop of water, and in 
the other a buckle of ox hide, which might be taken for a piece of mist. This 
custom is common to the king and to the beggar. As to the Mussalmans, they 
dte8» tiiemselves in magnificent apparel after the manner of the Arabs, and 
manifest luxiuy in every particular. The sovereign of tliis city bears the title of 
Sameri. When he dies, it is his sister*s son who succeeds him, and his inheritance 
does not belong to his son, or his brother, or any other of his relations. No one 
reachea the throne by means of the strong hand."" 

The Portuguese in Malabar and Travancore. It was 

in 1497 A. D., that King Emmanuel of Portugal fitted out three vessels 

Mujur's ludia in the Fiftceuth Century, -Journey of Abd-tT-Kaszak. Page, 17, 

285 TiiAVANcoKE Manual. [Chap. 

on an expedition to find a route for India. The little fleet left 
Lisbon harbour under Da Gama on the 8th July. After various vicissi- 
tudes of fortune the vessels reached Calicut on the 28th May 1498. Gkuua 
soon after sent a message to the Zamorin announcing his arrival as an 
Ambassador from the king of Portugal with a letter and presents. 

The traders from Egypt and Arabia who till this time completely 
monopolised the commerce of the coast viewed the advent of the interlopers 
with extreme jealousy. They were able to convince the Zamorin, his 
ministers and chief men of the place that the Portuguese were pirates and 
not the peaceful merchants they appeared to be. The result was that 
though Gama had landed his goods and the Zamorin gave him a house, the 
factor placed in charge of the house could neither sell nor buy and was 
soon treated as a prisoner. Gama in return seized some fishermen. The 
king's officers when they lieard of this released tlie factor. But Gama did 
not free all the fishermen as he wanted to carry some of them to Portugal. 
This proceeding confirmed the natives in their suspicion that the foreigners 
were pirates and slave traders. The alarm spread along the whole coast 
and Vasco da Gama found that the country was against him. He left 
Calicut witli his ships and returned to Portugal after an absence of 
twenty-six months, on the 29th August 1499. The king of Portugal 
innnediately sent another expedition under Cabral with thirteen ships 
and twelve hundred men. 

Cabral reached Calicut on the 13th of September 1500 A. D., with six 
ships. The Zamorin now became more friendly to the Portuguese and 
gave them a house at Calicut, where a factor was placed with goods and 
money under the protection of sixty chosen Portuguese. 

But the Portuguese were not successful in trade, as their old enemies 
the Moors had persuaded the people not to sell them any goods. The 
Portuguese admiral was in a rage and in a fit of passion ordered the 
capture oi a Moorish vessel and transferred the cargo to his own ship and 
set the encujy's ship on fire. The Moors w^ere not prepared to put np 
with such violence and an attack was immediately made on the factory 
which was plundered, fifty men being killed. The Portuguese burned 
fifty native ships that were lying in the harbour and cannonaded the city 
of Calicut for two days. They then returned southward to Cochin whose 
Kajah had a special feud against the Zamorin and was therefore anxious 
for the friendship of the powerful strangers. The Rajah concluded a 
treaty with the Portuguese, supplied them with cargoes and permitted 
them to build a fort within liis territory. 

VL] Early History. 288 

The ruler of Quilon in 1501 a. d., sent a deputation to Cabral at 
Cochin inviting him to visit Quilon, and promising to supply him with 
pepper and spices at a cheaper rate than he could obtain at Cochin. 
But the offer was politely declined. Soon after, Cabral returned to 

The disasters of Cabral did not in the least discourage the King of 
Portugal. He was ambitious of foimding an oriental empire and, having 
obtained a bull from the Pope conferring on him the sovereignty of all the 
countries visited by his fleets in the East, he assumed the title of **Lord of 
the Navigation, Conquest and Commerce of Ethiopia, Persia, Arabia and 
India", and fitted out a third expedition imder Gama with fifteen 
vessels. Gama arrived at Calicut and demanded reparation for the insult 
offered to Cabral, which being refused, he set the town on fire. He 
then proceeded to the friendly port of Cochin. 

The King of Cochin realised much profit by his trade with the 
Portuguese. Gama treated him with much liberality. When the Queen 
of Quilon heard of these, she sent a message to Gama, as she had peppei* 
enough to load twenty ships each year, requesting him to send two of his 
largest ships to her port which she promised to load with pepper on the 
same terms as he had already established at Cochin. Vasco da Gama replied 
that as he had promised the King of Cochin not to do anything in that 
coimtry in the matter of trade without his leave and good pleasure, she 
could better inform the King of Cochin of the matter. The Queen 
immediately sent a message to the King who, thinking that as the 
Portuguese could obtain all the pepper they required from Cochin, they 
would not trouble to send ships to Quilon, gave his assent and communi- 
cated it also to Gama. ''Two ships were sent to Quilon and thoy were taken 
to a river called Calleconlam (Kayangulam) which was five leagues south 
from the port (Cochin), were filled up in ten days and returned to Cochin 
loaded with pepper and spices. Besides, the Queen sent a present to 
Vasco da Gama (Captain Major) of several silk stuffs of various colours 
which were made in the country, and very fine white stuffs of very great 
worth". Gama left Pacheco at Cochin with a handful of men to protect 
the Portuguese factories and imaccoimtably set sail for Europe. 

On the departm-e of Gama the Zamorin of Calicut invaded Cochin 
for having harboured the Portuguese, but Pacheco with his comrades was 
able to defeat him severely thus demonstrating for the first time the 
superiority of European over Asiatic soldiers. Da Gama was succeeded 
by Albuquerque (Afonso Dalboquerque) who arrived at Calicut in 

284 THAVAXfoKK ^FAxrAL. [Chap. 


September 1508. The first I'^nropean fort in India was built at Cochin 
and cliristened Enmianucl after tlie name of tlie sovereign of Portugal. 

Albuquerque lands at Quilon. The trade in Quilon at 
that time was even more extensive than that of Cannanore and 
Cochin, and vessels laden with rich merchandise daily came from Ceylon, 
Bengal and Malacca. The state of Quilon at this time is thus descri- 

** At the time when Afonso Dalboquerque arrived at Coulao, it was a very 
large city, peopled with heatliens, with not a single moor in it, nor any foreigner 
except the brother of Cherinam(»rcar of Cochin, who had gone thither just lately 
to reside. This city was a gi^eat seapoii; of merchants, and anciently had in it 
many merchants stopping there from all parts ot India, principally from Malacca. 
And as it was a port sheltered from the wind on every side, the ships which go 
to India, as well as those which passed the island of Ceilao (Ceylon) and ChtSe 
(Kayal ?) made the;ir entrepot there. In those days the island of Ceilao was 
subject to it, and paid tribute to it, and it possessed all the land from Coulao to 
Chale, which is about sixty leagues, and the distance from Caulao to the island of 
Ceilao is eighty leagues. The Kiiif,' of Coulao was a ven,- honest man, and very 
gallant, and in the war which he cari'ied on with the King of Narainga, who had 
many soldiers, both horse and foot, he attacked him with sixty thousand archers 
and overcame him. Besides the Nambeadarim, who was the chief governor of 
the land, there w^ere in the city thirty-six principal men who governed it, so that it 
was the l>est ruled city at that time in those parts." * 

Albuquerque soon after started from Cochin and arrived near Quilon, 
and when the sea became calm he ordered a few of his crew to go ashore 
to see what they could discover. On landing they were received by 
about four hundred men on the beach lost in admiration of the boat 
in which they arrived and its contents. The following account as told by 
Eupoli, one of the crow thus sent,of their doings at Quilon is interesting 
and may be quoted here : — 

•'As soon as we were near enough, we gave them to understand by means of 
our interpreter that we were Christians, the which they sooner heard than they 
gave evident signs of the p-eatest satisfaction; at the same time intimating that 
they also were Christians, having Ixjen so from the time of St. Thomas ; they were 
in number near three thousand souls. They showed us a church, which they had 
built after our form, but of an inditlerent architecture, ornamented with saints and 
a cross and called Santa Maria ; and in the neighbourhood of the church dwelt 
these people, who call themselves Nazarenes. 

" We were tlien presented to the king, Nambiadora, who received us with 
great kindness and urbanity ; and having asked liim if we could be supplied with 
spices, he answered that in twenty days h3 would engage to load us with every 
kind of spice we could wisli. We returned on board with the agreeable informi^ 
tion, and innnediat<3ly set about careening ships ; as soon as that was finished, 
we took in our huUng complete, of most excellent spices, which were in such 
abundance, that we could not take the whole of what was offered us. 

* Comment nrics of Alfonso Albof|nenpio, Vol. T. Page 11. 

VL] . Early History. S85 

'*As wo now iK^f^iin to think of departing, a meeting betwixt the king and the 
captain was resolved on, and upon the day fixed, the captain ordered out six 
boats armed and elegantly decorated with velvet at the stern, Jack and flags 
flying, himself dressed in gold brocade, with gold-chains and other ornaments in 
honour of his sovereign; the crews were dressed also in form. The whole being 
arranged, were ordered to lay close in with the ])3ach and wait the coming of the 
king. In an hour the king came down, attended by an innumerable concourse 
of people, all marshalled in procession, according to their several degrees ; the 
whole closing with the king, seated cross-legged on an ivory chair, and carried 
by foiu* Brahmins. The king was dressed in silk embroidered, with an upper 
robe of gold muslin ; he wore rings of a considerable value, and had on his head 
a crimson velvet cap highly ornamented with jew^els, and long chains of pearls 
and brilhants hanging from the top of the cap, with his hair flowing loose upon 
his shoulders. There were a number of elephants, and Persian horses follow^ed 
in the train, which made an elegant appearance. A number of various war-like 
instruments joined in the procession, playing as they passed. Soon as they 
arrived opposite to where the boats lay, they made a halt; immediately the 
captain made the signal for a salute from the ships, the band playing all the 
time : he then was rowed to the shore, to have the honour of kissing the king's 
hand. The king perceiving this, ordered all his people to retire some distance in 
order to convince the Portuguese of the confidence he had in the captain by 
meeting him alone. Comf)linients being paid and the ceremony being gone 
through, the following compact was mutually entered into by each party: that 
the king should annually grant to the Portuguese all the spices which his terri- 
tory ])roduced, which we agreed to take at prices stipulated, paying for the same 
in goods at regulated prices. We also requested that whoever was left as agent 
for the king of Portugal, should have the right of punishing or tr^'ing any of his 
Portuguese Majesty's subjects who should remain on the land. This the king 
granted, though with reluctance, considering it as an interference with his juridi- 
cal right. The wdiole being transcribed in silver letters, was properly signed and 
sealed ; and thus the matter was concluded. The natives being desirous of see- 
ing our priests, we landed the two friai's, and had mass solemnly performed in 
their church, with a sermon preached aften\'ards and explained to the people by 
the interpreter." '•' 

Albuquerque, after establishing a coDimerc ial dep6t and factory at 
Quilon v/ith a small staff and after loading his ships with pepper, sailed 
for Cochin on the 12th January 1504 a. d. It has to be mentioned here 
that the Moorish merchants of the land were greatly averse to this new 
friendship between the Portuguese and the king of Quilon ; they spread 
all sorts of rumours about the Portuguese and strongly dissuaded the people 
from having any dealings w^ith them. The Zamorin of Calicut also as 
soon as he heard of this, sent his ambassadors to the king of Quilon saying 
that '*he must beware of what he was about, for the Portuguese were a 
very bad race, and if he admitted them into his land, they would rise up 
against him," and added that this was the chief reason w^hich had induced 
him to insist so strongly upon driving them out of India. He also sent 
large presents to the governors of the land begging them to influence the 

* Collection of Early Voyages, Vol. I. Book iii — Voyage of Albuqucniiie. 


8M Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

king against giving cargo to the Portuguese or receiving them in his port. 
But all these availed nothing, ** for the king of Coulao was a man of such 
truthfulness that in spite of all these arguments which the Camorim 
advanced, he kept his word and established his friendship with Afonao 
Dalboquerque. And he answered the Camorim that he had received no 
injury or insult from the Portuguese, but rather was convinced that they 
were men of their word and unless it was their own fault , he would not 
withdraw from what he had agreed upon." * Evidently the Zamorin 
was not pleased with this reply and was very much annoyed at his inabi- 
lity to destroy the king of Quilon and hinder the Portuguese from carry- 
ing on the pepper trade. 

In 1505 A. n., Albuquerque was recalled and Almeyda was sent out 
to India with the grand title of "Viceroy of India " though the king of 
Portugal did not possess a foot of land in it ; Almeyda had special instruc- 
tions for the erection of forts at Aiijediva, (,'aimanore, Cochin and Quilon. 
The fleet of Francisco D'almeyda reached Anjediva about September 

Almeyda and Quilon. Almeyda deputed captain Homem to go to 
Quilon on behalf of the Portuguese company to fetch cargo. When he met 
the foreign agent at Quilon, the latter told him that he was not sm*e if he 
could get pepper that time, for certain Arab merchants had already 
filled their boats with pepper. Captain Homem emboldened by the pre- 
vious order of the king giving him permission to load his ships with 
cargo, at once sent his veterans to seize the jnasts and rudders of the Arab 
vessels. They did so and the rudders etc. , were taken to the Portuguese 
house and lodged there. 

The Ai*ab merchants of Quilon smarting under the wanton inaoH 
offered to them by the Portuguese captain, combined together and went 
in a body to the ministers of the Rajah and represented their grievaaoes. 
The chief ministers of the State at once went to the Portuguese house 
and asked Antonio De Sa, the keeper of the house, to return the things the 
captain had wrested from the Arabs. De Sd, though naturally of a modest 
and quiet temperament, had now become emboldened after the arrival of 
Almeyda. He insulted the ministers and refuf^ed to return the goods. 
Thence a light ensued between De BA supported by a few of his followers 
and the Nayars and Jonakas of the place. Each party used swords and othe^ 
weapons, and at last the Portuguese rscapod to a Bhagavati temple 

* Commentaries of Afoiiso DnllxKpiorquo, Vol I. Pr^ 10. 

VI.] Early History. aMP 

which was surrounded on all sides by the Nayars and 6et fire to. Thirteen 
were burnt alive that day. When the Viceroy who had just then reached 
Cochin witJi a large force heard of the disaster, he at once deprived 
Homem of his command and appointed his son Lorenzo in his place- 
Lorenzo landed at Quilon and destroyed twenty-seven boats in the harbour 
and went straight to seize the Arab vessels. But on account of the force of 
the current his ships were driven to the shores of Ceylon. Lorenzo spent 
the winter there and started to Portugal. He then heard that there 
were some of the Jonakas who joined the Quilon revolt at Vizhinjam. 
On landing there he destroyed their vessels and blocked the Moplah 
trade from Cape Comorin to Cannanore. The town itself was sacked 
and mercilessly burnt. 

Almeyda was in his turn superseded by Albuquerque who on his 
arrival in India attacked his old enemy the Zamorin of Calicut but 
lost a fourth of his force in the attempt. He came to the conclusion 
that instead of these desultory wans in which the Portuguese had been 
hitherto engaged it would be more profitable to get a permanent footing 
on the coast in some place which would afford a safe shelter for their ships 
and become the centre of their influence. He pitched upon Goa on the 
coast of Canara for this purpose. In the midst of his triumphs he was in 
1515 A. I)., superseded by the intrigues at the court, and he died broken- 
hearted in December 1519, at the age of sixty-three just when he was 
leaving the port of Goa to his native land. 

The Portuguese Viceroy Soarez concluded a treaty of peace dated 
2§th September 1516 a. d., with the Queen of Quilon and with the 
governors of the land under which the latter agreed to rebuild at their own 
expense, in the same style and in the same place as before, the church of 
St. Thomas which had been destroyed when the factor was killed. They 
also agreed to favour and protect the Christians as formerly, to pay five hund- 
redbahars (candies) of pepper in three yearly instalments commencing with 
the then current year 1516 a. d., to let the Portuguese have all the pepper 
and other spices they might require at the same prices as they could obtadn 
them at Cochin, and not to export any drugs or spices without the knowledge 
of the Portuguese. In case of war with common enemies each party agi'eed 
to assist the other ; no ships from Quilon were to enter the Straits of 
Aden beyond Cape Guardafui, unless in the service of the Portuguese, and 
any of the Queen's subjects whether native or Moor who might desire to 
become Christians were to be at full liberty to do so. * 

♦The I'ortu^icsc in India - Danvcnj. VqI. I. Pagi* 330. 

2B8 Tkavancoke Manual. [Chap. 

The special mention of the ' Governors of the land ' as parties tpO the 
treaty by the Portuguese with the Queen oS Quilon, probably refei's to the 
semi-indei)endent chiefs of the nei<^hbourhood under the nominal suze- 
i-ainty of the Queen of Quilon, or the E tin c Mil Pillaniars who acquired 
such enormous power and influence in the next century. 

Factory and Port at Quilon. Hey tor Rodriguez was then ap- 
pointed captain and he landed at Quilon on the 1st February 1517 A. D. 
He paid a visit to the Qut*en and the ministers with suitable presents, and 
asked tliem fc^r the balance of i)eppei- due to tlie Portuguese. The Queeu 
and the ministers promised to supply the same. But there was great delay. 
The Queen addressed him by his name and spoke to him as follows: — 
**Weare going to invade our neighbouring kingdom of Travancore for 
which we start to-morrow. As we are now greatly pressed for money, 
please do not ask us about the church endowuients now. As the clerks 
and Nayars are all accompanying me everything has to be settled in my 
presence only after om* retui*n from victory. Please therefore do not ask 
me about them before I retui-ii. " 

The captain was satisfied and requested that he might be allowed to 
build a house to give tliem safe shelter. This j-ecpiest w^as a take-in on 
his part made at the instance of his master, Soare/, who had ordered 
him to pitch upon a convenient spot for building a small fortress. After 
fixing upon a suital>l(» place he at once commenced work. On hearing of 
this the Jonaka IMoplahs becajut* veiy a])prehensive and complained to the 
Queen that the place had been selected not for building a house but for 
building a fortress. The captain bought over the Queen's ministers to his 
side who helped th(i l^oriuguese in the selection of a site with abund- 
ance of good water, and a small building was soon completed. The 
Moplahs spread all sorts of rumours to the effect that the Governor 
Soarez was killed in an encounter near Humes (Gogala, called by the 
Portuguese Vilhi dos liumvs), that the Mahomedans had started for the 
capture of Goa and so on. The captain hearing of this, gave strict orders 
to his men not t<; get involved in any quarrel, or tight. News, however, 
soon arrived that Soarez was returning victoj'ious and that the attempt of 
the Mahomedans to capture (ioa priA'ed futile. The captain was much 
gratified, and by his tact and care was »l)le to conduct himself to the 
Queen's entire satisfaction. 

Soarez thoi'.glu that a factory alone at Quilon was insufficient and 
that a fort was indispensable. Ho <leputed Rodriguez to go to the 
Queen and the chief minif^ter with presents to the value of foiU' thousand 

VI.] Kaely History. 2M 

Cochin fanains. The Queen was delighted and accepted the money and 
presents. Rodriguez interviewed the three great otHcers of tlie country, 
namely Ummini Pillay, Bala IMUay and Kuruppu, and having made 
himself sure of their friendship broached to them the idea of the fort 
and they promisd to assist him. The w^ork was soon begun. But this en- 
raged not only the Moplahs, but also the junior Princes and Princesses. 
These latter tried to prevent the fortification work, but they were soon 
pacified and an open revolt was averted. Yet the Princes were not satis- 
fied ; on the day when Rodriguez with twenty-seven of his people laid the 
foundation stone, about two thousand Nayars collected there and tried to 
oppose them. But Rodriguez not minding raised one w-all and appre- 
hending a fight the next day mounted two of his big guns. The sight 
of these guns frightened the Nayars and they retreated ; the Moplahs 
too lost courage and looked on. The work of building the fort was 
vigorously pushed on even in the rainy season, and the whole fortress 
was completed by September 1519 a. d., and christened Fort Thomas. 
'J'he Queen indifferent to the feelings of her own people, encouraged 
Rodriguez in the building of the fort and rendered him all possible 
assistance. As a Portuguese author quoted by Elphinstone in a foot note 
to his Bise of the British Power iti India observed : — ** The fort of Quilon 
was afterwards razed by the same hand that built it, after having cost 
many lives, all the effect of the ill usage of the Portuguese towards the 
natives from their unlimited pride and boundless avarice." 

Siege of the Quilon Port. The captain nevei- asked for the 
balance of pepper due while the fortress work was in progress, but as 
soon as it was completed, he reminded the Queen of the balance due to 
him. The Queen was much put out at this inconvenient demand. 
She never thought that she would be asked to pay this after she 
had given permission to build tlie foi't. On the captain's insisting 
upon payment, she thought of taking the foil. At her instigation the 
young Prince Martanda Tiruvadi began to annoy the captain in several 
w^ays. The captain complained to the Queen but without effect. He 
was enraged and immediately prepared for war against the Queen 
and her subjects with the three chief otticeis above referred to for his 
assistance. Relying on their falso promises he began preparations for 
the struggle. But they at last with a large force laid siege to the fort and 
took it without much diificulty. The first who took the offensive was Bala 
Pillay who wnth 1,500 Nayars started to the front of the main gates 
while from the back side all the Moplahs scaled the fort walls. The 
Nayars as scx)n as they entered the fort imprisoned all the Christians, 

290 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

the blacksmiths, the masons and others who were engaged in thebuildiBg 
of the tort . A tight ensued at the mid of which the Quilon troops sustained 
severe loss from the guns of the Portuguese. All the Europeans vpithin 
the fort had to starve for want of food and many actually died of hunger 
and disease. On these news reaching Cochin, the Governor sent his 
nephew with aconsigmnent of provisions and a small band of veteran soldi* 
ers. They reached Quilon speedily and saved the lives of the sturvirors 
within the fort. This happened in August 1520 a. d. 

The Queen of Quilon then sent a letter of apology to the Governor at 
Cochin and an amicai)le settlement was effected between the two parties. 
By this treaty dated 17th November 1520 A. n., it was stipulated that the 
pepper still due under the treaty of 151f) should be paid at once, that all 
pepper in the land should be sold (o the King of Portugal and to no one 
else, that all ships an-iving at that port (not behig enemies' ships or laden 
with pepper) should bo allowed freij access and be well i-eceived, and that 
the captain of the fort should grant all I'easonable assistance the Queen 
might require. 

State of the Country and condition of the People. At 

this time trade was prosperous and the people throve. Ludovica di 
Varthema who visited Malabai* in 1505 a. d., describes the extensive 
trade that was going on and speaks highly of the protection afforded by 
th(», native kings to their subjects, particularly the great security to per- 
son and pr()])erty which they enjoyed. He praises the ailministration of 
justice and the probity of the merchants. Duarte Barbosa who visited 
the coast about 1514 a. J)., bears sinjilar testimony to the good administra- 
tion of India especially in regard to justice in olden times. 

From Calicut, Vauthkms travelled by a river, ** the most beauti- 
ful he has ever seen", and arrived at Cacolon (Kayangiilam) distant from 
(!alicut by Hfty leagues. The river is evidently the continuous water 
communication formed by the riveis and backwaters and estuaries and 
running parallel tu the coast from Ponnani as fai' as Quilon. "The 
king of Cacoloji is a pagan and is not very rich and follows 
Calicut in his manner of living, dress and customs. A good deal of pepper 
grows in their country. There aie some Christians of St. Thomas here, 
who say that a priest comes there every three years to baptise them. " 
After leaving Cacolon, he came to Colon (Quilon) distant twenty miles. 

"Tlu- kin^' of rliis city Ism. Papm. and I'Xti'eineiy poweiiul, and be has 
120,000 hoiscnujii, and niany arcliers, and is constantly at war with other kings* 
Thi^» country \y,{-> i\ good port ui:nv in tin; ^<.'a-coasl. No grain grows lici*e, but 

VL] Karly History. 291 

fmitB, as at Calicut, and pepper in gieat quantities. Tlie colour of the people, 
their dress, manner of living, and customs, are the same as at Calicut. At that 
time, the king of this city was the friend of the king of Portugal, hut heing at 
war with others, it did not appear to us well to remain here. Wherefore, we 
took our way by sea, aforesaid, and went to a city whicii is called Chayl, belong- 
ing to the same king, opposite from Colon fifty miles.""' 

We have next the account of Duarte Barbosa who visited Malabar 
and Travancore about 1514 a. d. 

''Conliim. Beyond this kingdom of Cochin towards the south, the kingdom 
of Coulam is entered ; between these kingdoms there is a place which is called 

Porca, it belongs to a lord Having passed this place the kingdom of Coulam 

oommenoes, and the first town is called Cayncolan in which dwell many Gentiles, 
Moors, and Indian Christians of the doctrine of St. Thomas. And many of those 
Christians live inland amongst the Gentiles. There is much pepper in this place 
of which there is much exportation. 

"Purthei* on along the same course towards the south is a ^reat city and 
good seaport which is named Coulam, in which dwell many Moors and Gentiles 
and Christians They are gieat merchants and very rich, and own many 
fihips, with which they trade to Cholmendel, the island of Ceylon, Bengal, 
Malaca, Samatara, and Pegu : these do not trade with Cambay. Tliere is also 
in this city much pepper. They have a Gentile king, a great lord of much 
territory and wealth, and of numerous men at arms, who for the most part are 
great archers. At this city, withdrawn a little from it, there is promontory 
in the sea where stands a very great church which the apostle St. Thomas 

built miraculously before he departed this life This church was endowed by 

the King of Coulam with the revenue from the pepper which remains to it to 
this day." * 

Barbosa also tells us that the king of Coulam was called Benate- 
deri (Venad Timvadi). Dr. Caldwell explains *Pinate' or*Benate\as 
representing Venadan, lord of Venad, that being the name of the District 
to which belonged the family of the old kings of Kollam, and * Venadu' 
imng their regular djuastic name. The Kajah of Travancore is still 
stjrled Venadan. Barbosa then describes how Semaperimal (Cheraman 
Perumal), ruler of Malabar, divided the w'hole of his kingdom amongst 
his relations and constituted three kingdoms in the country, namely 
Calicut, Cananor (Cannanore) and Coulam, and commanded that no 
one should coin money except the king of Calicut, but that the kings 
•of Coulam and Cananor afterwards struck money for a certain time 
in their countries without having the power of doing so. 

" Ti'tnauijoto. Further on along the same coast towards the south, is a 
town of Moors and Gentiles called Trinangoto, (Tiruvitancode), which also 
possesses shipping. The town and territory belong to a lord, a relation of the 
king of Coulam ; it is abundantly supplied with provisions, rice and meat. 
Further along the coast is the Cape of Comery where the Malabar country 

* Travels of Ludovico J)i Vartheinu llnklyiit Socii't y. Papo 18-1. 

J A DoiKyription of the CoasU of East Africa nn<| Malabar— Haklyut Society. Page ."ij. 

292 Thavanokk Mamal. [Chap. 

finisho>; ; Imt iIk^ kiiiju'cloin of Con lain n^ichcs; thirty iea^nio«; further, as far as a 

cit\ which is calliKl C'licl (Kayal).'" 

The king of Quilon jit this tiine innst according to the Travancore 
authorities Jiave be(»n Sia Viea Ravi Varma. Kayai was regarded by the 
earliest Portuguese as belonging to Travancore and tlie king of Travancore 
as the legitimate sovereign of the whole of the south of Tinnevelly. 

Barbosa writers tlius graphically of the Biahmins and their cus- 
toms : — 

"The Gentile Hraniaiis are ])riests all of one liiu^age, and others cannot be 
priests, but only their own sons. And when these are seven years old they putround 
their ntjcks a stra}) two fingers in width of an anhnal which they call Cre$$na 
.Vr/v/fO? fKrishnanniiia, the black deer^ with its hair, which is like a wild ass; 
and they conniiand him not to (»at hotel for sevo!i years, and all this time he wears 
that strap round the neck passing muler the arm, and when he reaches fourteen 
years of age they make him a I^raman lemoving fi-om him the leather strap and 
])Uttin*{ on another of ihive thn/ads, which lie weai*s all his life as a 
mark of luring a Hraman. And ihrv do ihis with nuich ceremony and 
festivity, just as here at the first mass, anrl from this time forward he 
may eat hetel. They do nol ejit flesh nor lish, they are much reverenced 
and honoured by tht» Indians, and they are not executed for any offence 
which they may commit: but their chief, who is like a bisiiop, chastises 
them in moderjition. They marry only once, and only the eldest member has 
to many and of him is made a head of the family like a sole heir by entail, and 
all the others remain bachelors, and uevei- n^.arry. The eldest is thp heir of all 
the pro])erty. These. Bramans, the elder brothers, keep their wives very well 
guarded, and in great esteem, and no other man can approach them ; and if any of 
the married on'.»s die, the person who l)ecomes widowed does not many afiain. 
And if the wife commits adultery, the husband kills her with ])oison. These 
young men who do not marry, nor can marry, sleep with the wives of the nobles, 
and th(^se women hold it as a great honoiu- because they are Bramans, and no 
woman refuses them. And they must not sleep with any woman older than 
themselves. And tliese live in their liouses and estates, and they have great 
houses of prayer, i\\ which they do service as abbots a!id whither they go to 
recite their prayers at fixed times of tlie day, and worship their idols and perform 
their ceremonies. And these temples have their princi])al doors to the west, 
and each temjjlo has thi'ee doors, and in front of the princijial gate, outside of 
it, is a stone of the heiglit of a man, with three steps all round it 
and in front of tlie stone inside the church is a small chapel, very dark, 
inside of which they kee]> their idol, of gold, silver, or metal, and three 
lamps burning. And no one may enter there except the minister of that choroh, 
who gocis in to set before the idol llowors and scented herbs, and they anoint it, 
with sandal and rose water, and take it out once in the morning, and another 
timci in the evening with sound of trumpets and drums and bonis. And he 
who takes it out lirst washes thoroughly, and cairies it on his head with the 
face looking backwards and tjicy walk with it three times in j)rocession round 
the church, and certain wives of the Bramans carry liglitftd lami)8 in front, and 
each time they reach the princi]3al door, they set the idol on that stone and 
there worshij) it. and ])erform certnin ceremonies : and having ended the three 
turns with nnisic and I'ejoicing, they again place U in the chapel, and each day 
they do this twice, by day aud at night. And around this church, there is a 
stone wall, betweeti which and the clunch thev walk in the beforementioned 

VI.] Early History. MS 

procession, and tbey cai'ry over the idol a very lofty canopy upon a very long 
bamboo (cadjan umbrella) for state as for kings. They place all the offerings 
upon the stone before the principal gate of the temple, and twice a day it is 
washed, and they set cooked rice upon it to feed the crows twice a day with great 
ceremony. These Bramans greatly honour the number trine : they hold that there 
is a god in three persons, and who is not more than one. All their prayers and 
ceremonies are in honour of the trinity, and they, so to say, figure it in their rites 
and the name by which they call it is this, Berma, Besnu, Maycereni, (Brahma, 
Vishnu and Mahesvara), who are three persons and one sole god. Thus they 
confess him to be from the beginning of the world. They have no knowledge or 
information of the coming of Jesus Christ. They believe many more vain * 
things, which they speak of. These people each time that they wash put some 
ashes upon their heads, foreheads and breasts, in token that they have to turn 
again into ashes ; and when they die they have their bodies burned. When the 
wife of a Brahmin is in the family way, as soon as the husband kno^s it, he 
cleans his teeth, and eats no more betel nor trims his beard and fasts until his 
wife gives birth to her child. The kings make great use of these Bramans for 
many things, except in the deed of arms. Only Bramans can cook the king's 
food, or else men of the king's own family, and so all the king's relations have this 
same custom of having their food cooked by Bramans. These are the messengers 
who go on the road from one kingdom to another, with letters and money and 
merchandise, because they pass in safety in all parts, without any one molesting 
them, even though the kings may be at war. These Bramans are well read in 
the law of their idolatry and possess many books and are learned and masters of 
many arts : and so the kings honor them as such." •' 

This account though not free from mistakes is very creditable to 
Barbosa considering the times he lived in and the obstacles to get at 
correct information in those days. 

Of the kings, their laws of succession and customs, he writes thus: — 

"In the first place, the kings of Malabar are, as has been said, gentiles and 
honour their idols : they are brown, almost white, others are darker; they go 
naked from the waist upwards, and from the waist downwards are covered with 
white cotton wraps and some of them of silk. Sometimes they clothe themselves 
with short jackets open in front, reaching half way down the thigh, made of 
very fine cotton cloth, fine scarlet cloth, or of silk or brocade. They wear their 
hair tied upon the top of their heads, and some times long hoods like Galician 
casques, and they are barefooted. They shave their beards and leave the 
moustaches very long, after the manner of the Turks. Their ears are bored and 
they wear in them veiy precious jewels and pearls set in gold, and on their arms 
from the elbows upwards gold bracelets, with similar jewels and strings of very 
large pearls. At their waists over their clothes they wear jewelled girdles three 

fingers in width, very well wrought and of great value When they are 

in their houses they always sit on high benches, and in houses without 
storeys. And they keep there a stand veiy white and four fingers high, and a 
cloth of brown wool undyed, after the manner of a carpet of the size of a horse 

cloth , folded in three folds and upon this they sit and they lean upon pillows, 

round and long, of cotton, silk or fine cloth. And they also sit on carpets of 
cloth of gold and silk; but they always keep under them, or near them, that cloth 

of brown wool, on account of their sect and for state and when any one 

comes to see them, they bring him this brown woollen cloth and put it near him. 

The Coasts of'East Africa and Malabar. Page 123. 

!W4 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

and when he goes out n pa^e carries the cloth folded l)efore him for state and 
ceremony. And Hkewise h(i always keeps a sword near him, and when he 
clianges from one spot to another, he carries it in his hand naked, as they always 
keep it. These kings do not marry, nor have a mai-riage law , only each one has 
a mistress, a lady of great lineage and family, which is called Nayre, and said to 
be ver}' beautiful and graceful. Each one keeps such a one with him near the 
palaces in a separate house, and gives her a certain sum each month or each 
year for expense, and leaves her whenever she causes him discontent, and takes 
another.... And the chihU'en that are born from these mistresses are not held 
to be sons nor do they inherit the kingdom, nor anything else of the king's. 

The heira of these kings are their brothera, or nephews, sons of their sisters, 

because they hold those to l)e their tine successors, and because they know that 
they were born from the body of their sistei^s. These do not mairy, nor have 
fixed husbands, and are vei y free and at lil)erty in doing what they please with 

" The kings of Malabar when they die, are burned in the country with 
much sandal and aloes wood ; and at the burning all the nephews and brothers 
and nearest relations collect together and all the grandees of the realm. And 
l)efore burning him they keep him there when dead for three days waiting for 
the assembUng of the above mentioned pei-sons, that they may see him if he died 
of a natm-al death or avenge his death if any one killed him, as they are 
obliged to do in case of a violent death. And they obseiTe this ceremony very 
rigidly. After having burned iiini, all shave the in selves from head to foot ex- 
cepting the eye-lashes, from tht; ])rince the heir to the throne, to the smallest 
child of the kingdom i. e. , those who are gentiles, and that they also clean their 
teeth, and universally leave off eating betel for thirteen days from that time and 
if in this period they iind any one who eats it, his lips are cut off by the executioner. 
During these thii-teen days the piince does not rule, nor is he enthroned as king, in 
order to see if in this time any one will rise up to oppose him ; and when this 
term is accomplished, all the giandees and former governor make him swear to 
maintain all the laws of the late king and to pay the debts which he owed and to 
labour to recov(»r that wliich other formei' kings had lost. And he takes this 
oath, holding a drawn swoid in his left hand, and his nght hand placed upon a 
chain lit up with many oil wicks in tho midst of which is a gold ring which ■ he 
touches with his fmgers, and there he swears to maintain everything with that 
sword. ^Vhen he has taken the oath, they sprinkU^ rice over his head, with many 
ceremonies of prayer and adoration lo the sun, and immediately after certain 
counts, whom they call cay ma Is, along with all the othei-s of the royal lineage, 
and the grandees, swear to him in the same maimer to serve him and to be 
loyal and true to him. During these thii'teen days, one of the caymals governs 
and rules the State like the king himself : he is like an accountant-general of 
the king, and of all the affaiis of tlie kingdom. This otlice and dignity is his, by 
right and inheritance. This i)enson is also the chief treasurer of the kingdom, 
without whom the king cannot open or see the treasury ; neither can the king take 
anything out of the treasury without a great necessity, and by the counsel of this 
person and several others. And all the laws and ordinances of the kingdom are 
in the keeping of this man. " ' 

This account too, though not quite accurate, is very creditable to 

To return to our historical narrative, fi-om two inscriptions at Maron- 
gur (South Travancore), we have seen that the royal insignia of Bakalakalai 

* Tilt' Const K of Ennt Almti ami Mnlitbnr. Pn^» lOH, 

VJ.] ^Arn^Y HlSTOBV. ^fy^ 

Martanda Varma consisted of three swords, a drum, a bow and an arrow> 
and that in 1495 a. d., he promulgated certain rules for the conduct of 
the right and left hand castes of the community towards each other. 
In 1607 A. D., both Martanda Varma and Aditya Varma» issued a writ 
to redress certain grievances of the Nadars in the villages between Paraii' 
and Tovala mountains. Aditya Varma died about 1617 a. d. 

Aditya Varma's younger brother, Bhutala Vira Shi Vira Udaya- 
Martanda Varma, who was already associated with him in the government 
in 1494 A. Dj, continued to rule over the coimtry till 1535 a. d. But his 
name is erroneously entered in one or two edicts of the temple chronicles of 
Sri Padmanabhaswamy as Sri Vira Kama Martanda Varma, the Senior 
Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur and also as the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy. His 
surname waa according to epigraphical records, Mankonda Bhutala Vira 
Sri Vira Udaya Martanda Varma. He was a famous warrior and conquered 
almost the whole of the Tinnevelly District from the Pandyas and ruled 
over it in addition to his own kingdom. He married a Chola princess by 
the name of Cholakulavalli who brought with her the district of Calacaud 
{Clwlakulavallipuram) as a dowry. Bhutala Vira made Calacaud his 
capital and built in it a new palace under the name of Viramartanda 
Glmtarvedimangalam-putumalikai, He was also called PuLi Martanda 
Varma, as he married the Chola princess whose house had the leopard 
for its royal insignia ; the dam across the river which stands even now 
under the name of Virappuli aiiai, was erected at that period. He 
was the first of the thiee Bhutala Viras whose names occur in the coins 
of Tinnevelly. The title " Mankonda Bhutala Vira '* was assumed by him 
just after his conquest of the Tinnevelly District. He had two loyal chief- 
tains in Tinnevelly one of whom was known by the name of Singa Peru- 
mal at Sevval and the other by the name of Chempakavanan Perumal 
at Sentanseri on the banks of the Chittar. His contemporaries- 
among the Pandyas were probably Jatila Vaiman Parakrama Pandya> 
Kulasekhara Jatila Varman Sri Vallabha and Maravarman Sundara^ 
Either Parakrama Pandya Kulasekhara who ascended the throne itv 
1480 A. D., or one of his co-regents or immediate successors seems to- have 
been defeated by the famous warrior, Bhutala Vira I. Sri Vallabha- 
mangalam, Sewal and several other places in the Tinnevelly District 
were under the sway of this Bhutala Vira Martanda Varma, even 
before 1495 a. d. It is probably of this Martanda Varma that Mr. Logan 
says: — 

•* His territory extended from Quilon to Cape Comorin and embraoed 
besides the southern portion of the Pandyan kingdom including the port of 

39d Tbavancohe Manual. [Chap. 

Kayal. The Kaja exacted tribute from Ceylon, kept a corps of three hundred 
female archers, and it is said he had not hesitated to challenge to battle the 
Raja of Vijayanagar." ■' 

There is evidence to show that there was perpetual war between Tra- 
vancore and Vijayanagar lasting for over a century i. e., from 1530 till at least 
1635 A. D. He made several gifts of lands as palUchantam to the god in 
the temple of Nagercoil, at the special request of Jivakarudaiyan ti-unavira 
Panditan, and Narayanan KamalavahanaPanditan. The very names of 
these two persons are sufficient to prove that they were Jains. PallU 
cliantain means a royal gift of lands to the deities of other religions at the 
special request of their adherents. About the same time the Christian 
Paravas, who resided at Kumari-nnittam near Cape Comorin, were haras- 
sed and ill-treated by the Hindus. On the 20th Minam 701 m. e. (1526 
A. D.), a royal writ went forth for redressing the grievances of the 
Christian Paravas under the sign-manual of Bhutala Vira Sri Vira Udaya 
Martanda Varma to the senior and jimior Kangan (the head-man and 
his assistant among the Hindu fishermen) w^ho resided in the haven at 
Kmnari-muttam, commanding them that they sliould not thereafter molest 
or harass in any way the Christians who were exempted from paying the 
taxes due to the village community of the heathens, such as idankai, 
valanliai'panavi (the tax for the i-ight and the left hand castes) padai' 
ppanam tinA prachandakanilikai &c. The pillar on which this edict 
is engraved stands in a dry field called * Muthanayinar Vilai *, near Cape 

The immediate successor of the said Bhutala Vira Sri Vira Udaya 
Martanda Varma was Bhutala Vika Sri ViRcV Ravi Varma, as mentioned 
in the inscription engraved on the southern side of the rock near the shrine 
of Kailasanathar in the temple of Suchindram. It reveals that on the 
19th Medam 712 m. i:.. Bhutala Vira Sri Vira Ravi Varma granted some 
lands in Irukkanturai in the District of Tinnevelly to Suchindram Udaya 
Nayanar, for the daily performance of JJdayamartandan Sandhipuja. 
This gift was made by him in the name of his predecessor Bhutala 
Vira I. 

It appears that one Sri Vira Kama Martanda Varma who was the 
Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy and eventually became the Senior Tiruvadi of 
Tiruppapur w*as a co-regent of Bhutala Vira Udaya Martanda Varma. 
He made some gifts to the temple of Padmanabhaswamy as an atone* 
ment for the sins committed during the internal dissensions of 704 m. e. 
His name also occurs in the later records dated 713-723 m. e., 

'^" * The Miilabar Munu:il, Vol. I. Tajro 310. 

VI.] Early History. ^97 

(1538-1548 A. D.) of the temple chronicles of Sri Padinanabhaswamy as 
Sri Vira Eama Martanda Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy. The 
inscription dated 716 m. e. (1541 a. d.) on the western wall in the outer 
jnantapam of Suchindram temple shows clearly that this was Sakalakalai 
Martanda Varma II, the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy. 

The successor of Bhutala Vira Eavi Varma was Bhutala Vira Ker.UjA 
Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Jayasimhanad. His name appears in a 
neet given to one Dikkellampukazhum Perunial of Vijayagudi in Tinne- 
velly, appointing him temple-accountant on the 27th Vrischigam 720 M. E. 
(1544 a. d.). 

Advent of Francis Xavier. Francis Xavier arrived in South 
Ti-avancore about 1543 a. d., and sought to introduce Christianity on the 
west coast. He was specially sent from Goa to look after the fishermen 
converts of Father Miguel Vaz at Cape Comorin. He wandered thi'ough 
fishing villages and baptised all those who submitted to it. He founded 
many congregations and built a number of churches. Before the close of 
1544 A. u., he had founded forty-five churches in Travancore. These were 
at first merely booths made of branches of trees and paka leaves which in 
time were replaced by stone and cement. Kottar was his principal resi- 
dence. In one of his letters dated March 1544, he describes the king of 
Travancore as the 'Great King' having authority all over South India. He 
also mentions that a near- relative of the king resided at Sael (Cael or Kayal), 
and that the Badagas whom he described as *tax gatherers' and 'lawless 
marauders' invaded Travancore in great force by the Aramboly Pass and 
endeavom-ed to possess themselves of the coast as far south as Cape 
Comorin in July 1544. 

Mr. Venkayya identifies these Badagas with the officers and soldiers 
of Vittala, a Prince of Vijayanagar, who ruled over Madura in 1547 — 
1558 A. D. This is corroborated by an inscription at Tiruvidaimarutur, 
which records that during the reign of Sadasiva Raya of Vijayanagar, 
Prince Vittala, son of Rama Rajah, made an expedition against Tiruvadi 
(the King of Travancore) shortly before Saka year 1466 (1544 — 1545 
A. D.). That the Badagas, as Mr. Venkayya shows, were the officers 
and soldiers of the King of Vijayanagar is conclusively proved by 
another circumstance. From the Rise of Portuguese Power in India, 
we gather that in 1543 A. d., the Portuguese Governor Afonso de 
Sousa organised an expedition against some of the rich temples in India 
to rob them of their fabulous wealth, but that on coming to the Cape, he 
found a large army belonging to the Rajah of Vijayanagar, who held 

298 Travancore Manual. [ChaT; 

sway over tliese temples, collected to prevent the Porttiguese afctack/ and^ 
that consequently he had to retreat with his force to Kayangnlam. Thk-. 
clearly explains the arrival of the army of the Bajah of Vijayanagar to- 
South Travancore. It appears that the Badagas, after the Portaigneie' 
had gone, invaded the interior of Travancore. ,. -J j According to- scmiB 
accounts, the liajah of Travancore was indebted to Xavier for delivenoice 
from danger, a panic having, it is said, been produced in the ranks of the.. 
Badagas by the sudden appearance of Xavier in front of their host, 
crucifix in hand, and thus the Badagas failed in their attempt to conquer 
Travancore. It is related in Orie/tf^j Conquistado (I. 143.), that the MaJiar 
rajah received Francis Xavier exclaiming, " They call Hie the Great King ; 
but hereafter for ever they will call you the Great Father". Father Mbrtin 
8. J., * fixes the scene of the retreat of the Badagas on a plain two miles' 
north of Kottar. We have already seen that the king of Travancore afr 
the time was Bhutala Vira Kemla Varma. the Senior Tiruvadi of JBya* 

There is reason to believe that the Portuguese caused considerable. 
annoyance and trouble to the king of Travancore, for Xavier in his 
letter of March 24, 1544 a. d., states in anger that his plans to enter 
Travancore were frustrated by the annoyance of the Bajah at some mis- 
conduct of the Portuguese officials. 

De Sousa is stated to have then led an expedition to attack the temple: 
of Tebclicare, which local information reported to be full of gold. If thit 
is the Tevalakara of Travancore, it is a small village seven or eight miles- 
north-east of Quilon and situated in the Karunagapalli Taluq. Uheve. 
were two jangadas I attached to the temple, but one of them wdth bH fakp 
guards at once went south when he heard of the movements of the Portu- 
guese. An offer of twelve thousand pounds, it is said, failed to turn the 
Governor from his intention to rob the temple which was reached before. 
nightfall. The Governor and his inunediate followers went inside the 
temple and after shutting the door spent the whole night in torturing, 
the Brahmins there and digging up the floor. It is not known exact- 
ly what was found : a gold patten worth about 1*50 was all that was 
shown. But an idea of their booty may be gathered from the fact that 
two empty barrels passed in and they each required eight slaves in relays to 
carry them out. 

An anecdote is mentioned in this connection. When the Governor 

* 3/ »■>>•/<»» •/'/ nmif'irc, IV. IS. 

* Those won' pi-obably military utfioors apiMjuitcd to iruurd llic toiiiplc. 

YL] Early History. MO 

ond'hismen staiied on the return journey in the morning, a Nayar dressed 
■with scrupulous cave and wearing all his ornaments, flung himself on the 
Portuguese ranks followed by ten or twelve others. It was discovered that 
this was the remaining jangada with his relatives and dependents that thus 
•tried to wipe out by their deaths the stain upon their honour. It appears 
that the Portuguese on their way back were much harassed by the country 
I people and. suffered a loss of thirty killed and one hundred and fifty wounded. 
Theyithen sacked another temple from which they obtained a small amount 
in- silver. coins, which was distributed among. the soldiers.* 

From the date of the Badaga invasion the power of the king of Tra- 
vancore had declined in Tinnevelly. 

In KoUam year 722 (1546 a. d.) i, e., two years after the time of BhutaJa 
Vira Kerala Varma, King Bhutala Vira Rama Varma made a gift 
to the temple of Suchindram in Tulam, as mentioned in an inscription 
of that temple. It appears that subsequent to the advent of the Bada- 
gas a compromise was effected between Eama Vai-ma, the King of 
Travancore and Vittala (alias Eama Rajah according to some authorities), 
the ruler of Vijayanagar, by which the former ceded the Tinnevelly 
District to the latter, who in return agreed not to molest Travancore. It 
wafi also agreed that Rama Varma should allow Vittala to make a grant 
of lands to the Vishnu shrine in the temple of Suchindram for special 
offerings in commemoration of King Vittala's birth-day. It was with 
reference to this peace that Francis Xavier " took an active part in send- 
ing to Tuticorin the Brahmin envoy sent by the Maharajah of Travancore 
to make peace with Madura". 

Xavier mentions a Prince of * Tala * under whose protection he worked 
near Cape Comorin. Mr. G. T. Mackenzie surmises that *Tala' may be 
Tovala, but Dr. Caldwell seems to think it refers to Kayal. The former is 
the more probable as there is still a village of that name (Talakil) in the 
Tovala Taluq a few miles to the north-east of Cape Comorin and evidently 
the seat of government. 

Several internal dissensions took place between the Senior Tiruvadi 
of Siraivoy and the Senior Tiruvadi of Jayasimhanad throughout the 
period (1545-1551 a. d.). Both of them made separate gifts to the temple 
of Padmanabhaswamy as an atonement for their sins. Kuttamangalam 
was also attacked by them during this period. 

* The rifle of PortugueBe Power in India(1407-165O).— Whiteway. Page 285. 

800 Tbavancobe Manual. [Chap. 

Shi Vira Uxni Kerala Varma of Jayasimhanad, Kilapperur, the 
Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur, reigned in Venad between the 2nd 
Minam 734 m. e. (1559 a. d.), and the 18th Mithunam 736 M. B. 
(1561 A. I).), as mentioned in tlie temple chronicles of Sri Pad ma- 
nabhaswamy. His co-regent was Sri Vira Aditya Varma the Senior 
Tiruvadi of Siraivoy, who ruled over Travancore from 1559 to 1565 A. D. 

According to the same records, King Aditya Varma made a gift of 
lands to the temple of fiameswaram Udaya Nayanar at Darisanamkoppa 
in the Taluq of Tovala, to meet the daily pvja expenses of the temple. 
The lands thus given wore then exempted from the tax called anjali. 
This gift was made by him on the 6th of Mithunam 734 M. E. (1559 A. D.). 
According to the temple chronicles the reign of this king lasted till the 
16th of Vrischigam 740 M. E. (1564 a. d.). The construction of the eaflt- 
ern qopurnm of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple was finished on the 
14th of TuJam 741 m. e. (1565 a. d.). 

Sri Vika Udava Martanda Varma of Jayasimhanad ruled 
over Travancore from Vrischigam 743 to Tulam 763 m. e.( 1567 — 
1587 A. 1). ). According to the temple chronicles, this king was 
the Senior Tiruvadi of l>oth Siraivoy and Jayasimhanad. In 752 M. E. 
( 157(5 a. I). ), there was also a Queen of the Kupakas who was bom in the 
star of Mrigasira. She reconstructed the temple of Kariyamanikka Vinna- 
var Emperuman of Idaraikudi (Idalaikudi) in the Taluq of Agastisvaram. 
The expression Kariyamanikka Vinnavar Phnperuman indicates that the 
temple should have been founded b}- a certain Pandya king of that name. 

In the Calendar of State Papers^ it is said that the Portuguese had 
a great war with the Queen of Malabar about 1571 a. d., and that the 
Queen was forced to peace. This Queen may have been the Queen of 
the Kupakas above referred to. Mr. Mackenzie says, **In the years 
1571 and 1574 the Senior Kanee of Travancore at Attingal took fright 
at the growing power of the Portuguese and set on foot an agitation 
against the Christians in the course of which three churches were bnmt 
down. " 

From an inscription at Padmanabhapuram we learn that one King 
Eavi Varma anointed the (jod of Mahadevar in the Padmanaphapuram 
temple on the first of Vrischigam 754 m. e. ( 1578 a. d.), after finishing his 
architectural undertakings. This king might have been the co-regent 
of Sri Vira I'daya ^fartanda Varma. 

In the temple chronicles, it is said that Sri Vira Udaya Martanda 

* Toloninl Serio.s (irjlIMOlfJ).— Saintsburv. Pa^ 9. 

T[.] Early History. 801 

Vabma, Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur made certain arrangements with re- 
gard to the temple management on the 18th Mithunam 762 M. E. (1587 A. D.). 
From an inscription at Darisanamkoppu, we learn that this same king 
made some gifts to Raghavanisvaram Udayar for monthly offerings on the 
day of his star Purattathi. Another inscription in the Parakai temple 
reveals that Bhutala Vira Rama Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy, 
born in the star of Kartika granted some lands to the temple for the 
daily performance of Chempakaramaiupuja on the 13th Kanni 762 M. E. 
(1586 A. D. ). He may have been the co-regent of Udaya Martanda 
Vanna. There were also two princes by name Ravi Ra\n Varma and 
Aditya Varma. 

There are several documents in the temple chronicles to prove that 
Sri Vira Ravi Ravi Varma of Jayasimhanad reigned in Travancore from 
Vrischigam 771 to Makaram 782 m. e. (1595—1607 a. d. ). From 
one of the Tiruvattar inscriptions, it is clear the reign of Sri Vira Ravi Ravi 
Varma lasted till the 16th Edavam 780 M. E., that he had two yoxmger 
brothers by names, Aditya Varma and Rama Varma, that there were 
two Queens Iraiyummakkuttiyar and Ilaiyummakkuttiyar, under the 
patronage of this Ravi Varma, besides one Senior Rani named Nambi- 
rattiyar Ammai, that one Nachiyar Ammai was under the patronage of 
Aditya Varma and one Kesava Perumal Ammai under that of Rama 
Varma, and that all these had contributed to the repairs of the temple. 

Sri Vira Rama Varma of Jayasimhanad is also mentioned in the 
chronicles as the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapur dmung the years 779 
and 780 m. e. 

Part IV. (1607—1729 a. d.). 

According to some of the epigraphical records, one Tirumeni 
Nambi established the temple of Kulasekhara Vinayakar at Suchin- 
dmmon the 17th Karkatagam 784 m. e. (1609 a. d.) in commemoration of 
the demise of his sovereign Rama Varma Kulasekhara Perumal. As we 
have already said, this sovereign was ruling until 1607 A. D., which 
probably was the last year of his reign. 

The next sovereign, according to the temple chronicles, was 
Sri Vira Unni Kerala Varma, the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy. 
His reign lasted from 787 to 799 M. E. (1012—1623 A. d.). Two 
inscriptions in Tamil verse in the Bhagavati temple at Valvacha- 
tottam in Kalkulam, prove that Venad was under the sovereignty of 

d02 Tbavancore Manual. [Chap. 

Sri Vira Ravi Varma from 795 to 798 m. e. (1620—1028 a. p.). This 
Sri Vira Eavi Vamia may have been the co-regent of Unni Kerala Vamia. 
Their dates of accession and death are not definitely known. 

In 782 M. E. (1606 a. d.), Muthuvirappa Nayak, elder brother of 
Tiruxnala Nayak, made certain gifts of land at Kakkarai and other 
places in Tinnevelly to the Bhagavati temple at Cape Comorin. There is 
also other evidence to show that the Cape and the Comorin temple were 
already in the possession of the Madura king. 

The temple chronicles show that Sri Vira Ravi Varma of 
Tinippapur was the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy and flourished in 
Venad for about twenty years from 803 to 823 M. E. (1628— 1647 a. I)0» and 
that Unni Kerala Varma was the Senior Tiruvadi of Tiruppapnr and 
reigned from 807 to 826 m. e. (1632—1650 a. d.). About 1644 a. d., this 
king granted Vizhinjam to the English East India Company that they 
might erect a factory there for purposes of trade. This was the earliest 
English settlement in Travancore. 

Advent of Tinimala Nayak. Tirumala Nayak, the greatest of 
Pandyan kings, established his capital at Madura immediately after 
his accession in 1623 A. b. After defeating the Mysore army, he turned 
his attention in 1634 to the more fertile regions southward, which had 
hitherto escaped the notice of his ancestors who ruled from distant 
Trichinopoly. He was now independent of the Narasinga d3ma8ty of 
Vijayanagar and wished to make larger acquisitions under the auspicefl 
of his family deities, Sundara and Minakshi. The earliest record 
showing the advent of Tirumala Nayak with his forces to Nanjanad, 
is a fleet (edict), dated 22nd Kumbham 810 m. e. (]685 a. d.), issued by the 
sovereign of Travancore to the Nanjanad ryots, regarding the remission of 
tax. This was found among the cadjan records preserved by Periya- 
vittu Mudaliar of Tazhakudi already referred to. The edict runs 
thus : — 

** Whereas it has been represented to us at our residence at Kalkulam by the 
nattars (r\'ots) between Mangalam and Manakudi, including those of 
prrumfHittu, ff'h' and annkcfahi, that the country is smitten by calamities, 
having liad no cultivation for the K(tr (Kanni) crop of 810, and that, as Phsanam 
(Kumbham) cultivation was not ho^m owing to the advent of Tirumala 
Nayakkar's forces and as the crops raised of Manahayi, Stnnlta and Adikkiravi 
(different kinds of paddy) suffered by l)li^'ht, the ry'^ots have not the where-withal 
to begin fresh cultivation, we an* pleased to command on this the 22nd day 
of the month of Masi in the year 810 m. e., that the levying of orvpoo-mdraram 
(a fixed tax) be given up for the Pimuum crop and that this fact viz., that simple 
inclcannn alone will Ix* realized on the Piammm cultivation betweeit 

VI.] Eauly Hisxory. M0 

Alai^alam and Manakudi including penimpattu, tali and mnketam he duly 
notified to the ryots of the said places in the southern portion of Nanianad 
North." ^ 

It would appear from the above edict that in 810 M. E., Kalku- 
laiu or Padinanabhapuram was the seat of government, that cmi 
account of the advent of Tirumala Nayak's forces (which according 
to tradition wei'e encamped in the paddy fields), there was no cultivatioa 
for the Kar crop of 810 m. e., and that the Pisanam cultivation was noi 
begun in time, and that Nanjanad was then divided into Nanjanad North 
and Nanjanad South. Mangalam is now a small village near Ponmana, 
nine miles north of Padmanabhapuram, and Manakudi is a seaport 
village in Agastisvaram Taluq, three miles along the coast from the Cape, 
The term satiketam is applied to the property of Sri Padmanabhaswamy; 
tali means temple or Devaswam property and periimpattu corresponds 
to Vandaravagai'pattom or Sircar's own — a name still used in the Shen» 
ix)ttah revenue accounts. It is evident from the edict that Tirumala's first 
advent took place about the close of 809 M. E. (1634 a. d.), when Venad 
was under the joint-sovereignty of Ravi Varma and Unni Kerala Varma. 

According to the temple chronicles, Sri Vira Kavi Ravi VarmA 
succeeded Unni Kerala Vanna in 827 m. e. Nothing more is known 
about this sovereign. One Aditya Varma is said to have ruled over 
Venad from 1661 to 1677 a. d., though according to the epigraphical records 
he died only a year later viz., in 1678 a. d. 

On the 20th of Mithunam 839 M. E. (1664 a. d.), Tirumala Koluudu 
Pillai, one of the chieftains of Chokkanatha Nayak, a descendant of Tiru- 
mala Nayak, set up a kaUniatayyi (stone-shed) on the bank of the 
Chakratirtham tank at Cape Comorin, and assigned certain lands in 
Tinnevelly and in Nanjanad for the maintenance of certain charities there. 
The steps of the Tiruppatisaram tank were constnicted by one Tarn- 
mappa Nayakkar. These facts go to show that at the beginning of the 
latter half of the seventeenth century, Tiruppatisaram and certain other 
places in Nanjanad were under the sway of the Madura Nayaks. 

The Yogakkars and Pillamars. Reference may now be made 
to the Yogakkars and Ettuvittil Pillaniarsy who have played so impor- 
tant a part in the early history of Travancore. The Yogakkars were a 
body of Potti Brahmins who formed themselves into a committee of 
management of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple at Trivandrum. These 
were eight such Brahmin representatives belonging to eight Brahnan 
families. Each of them had a vote while the sovereign himself had only 

^04 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

half a vote — in all, eight votes and a half. Tlie committee was therefore 
known by the name of Ettara-yogam (committee of 8J votes). According 
to Shmigoonny Menon, there was effected a reorganisation of the Deva- 
swams in 220 M. e. (1045 a. d.) under the management of this Ettara-yogam. 
These members gradually became a powerful body and wielded immense 
influence in the conduct and administration of the temple establishments. 
The sovereigns had little or no control over them and were simply per- 
mitted to be present at the periodical ceremonies. The Ettuvittil 
Pillamars were the representatives of eight noble Nayar families and were 
entrusted with the collection of the Devaswam revenues. Originally they 
had nothing to do with the Devaswams. Tliey were the tenants of Potti 
jcnmies who were not members of the Ettara-yogam but mere landlords. 
In course of time, however, they acquired great wealth and power, defied 
their own jenwi landlords and allied themselves w-ith the Yogak- 
kars. As the king had no authority over the Yogakkars and was evidently 
imable to control the Pillamars, these latter easily rose to pow^r and im- 
portance. They became as troublesome as the feudal barons of England 
were to King John — so much so that in 510 m. ]:., when the sovereign pro- 
posed to construct a palace for himself at Trivandrum, he was opposed by 
the Yogakkars. The king of course resented such a proceeding and in 
return called upon the Yogakkars to submit to him their Devaswam ac- 
counts. They told him that he had no controlling power over them and 
that he himself had only half a vote in the Yugam (committee), which 
was nothing as compared to their united will. This opposition continued 
for a long period, but open rupture was avoided by the tact of the sover- 
eigns who fully reahsed their helplessness. 

Matters, however, came to a crisis in the reign of Aditya Varma. He 
was of a very mild disposition and being of a religious turn of mind, he 
insisted upon the Devaswams being managed properly. The result was 
that his palace at Trivandrum was burnt by the Ettuvittil Pillamars and 
the king himself fled to Puthencottah, a small fortress on a beautiful hill 
by the side of the Killiyar, where he lived until he was himself dis- 
posed of by poison at the instigation of the Pillamars. According to the 
epigraphical records, the date of the king's death is 5th Dhanu 854 M. B. 
(December 1678 A. D.). Fi-oui the temple chronicles we understand that 
the regular performance of the pnjas in the Padmanabhaswamy Pagoda 
had been entirely stopped for a period of five years from 848 to 853 M. E. 
(1673—1678 A. D.), and the temple itself closed during the period owing to 
the intemal dissensions caused l)y the unruly Ettuvittil Pillamars and their 
confederates, the Yogakkiirs. It appears tliat the temple was subsequently 

VL] Eakly HiSTOiiv. aoB 

opened for puja by the Queen of Attuiigal aud Sri Vira Eavi Variua, 
the Senior Tiruvadi of Siraivoy. 

In this connection, the following extract from an official document 
regarding the state of Malabar, drawn up in 1(377 a. d., by Van Kheed, 
then the Dutch Governor of Ceylon and author of the well-known botanical 
work Hortus Mahxharicus, is worthy of reproduction : — 

*' Tra^ancore with whom a friendly contnict was entered into, would never 
yet suffer the free and unlimited pepper trade in this country ; he however 
allowed it with respect to all other Articles, with the exclusion of all other 
Europeans. He is a powerful Prince aud his J)uiiiinions formerly extended from 
Cailpainam on the coast of Maduia to Poona. The Prince is an adopted son from 
a Cochin family called Itamtnacoil, tliis oomt has often solicited a Cochin Prince 
and Princess as heirs, but I have never been a))le to persuade the king to it, not 
but that he saw the gi*eat advantages which might result therefrom to Cochin, but 
Ixjcause this would be from the Cochin family of Tijaloor, which he will not 
suffer. We never had any quarrels with this Prince, but a few misundei-stand- 
ings respecting the prohibition of the Archa, but has been a stranger and not 
having the good luck to please the great Lords of his country', not tlie Princess of 
Attingah he has it not in his power to employ his whole strength, but as these 
(lififerences are so far distant from us, and consequently of such a natme as not 
to hurt the Company, I have always in as friendly a manner as possible declined 
having any hand in the propositions of the Rajah as being the weakest, to bring in 
the Company as mediators, as I have always considered that a kingdom divided 
within itself was least in a situation to hurt us. 

"ThaPrincess of Attingah, who is not alone the mother of Ti-avancore but tlie 
(Adi^^i oiTippaposorewamhix^Vi large territory of her own independent of Tra van- 
core, is also m alliance with the Hou'ble Company — along with the old Princess 
lives a younger one, but of such noble and manly conduct that she is both feared 
and respected by ever}' one, some out of respect to her sex and others out of 
regard to the old Queen, which this youngest Princess knows so well how to 
turn to her advantage that she not only rules Attingah but Travancore itself 
within whose bounds no Princess may set her feet according to their laws, nor 
pass the river Canimani on pain of forefeiting their rights, but this young 
Amazon has latelv violated those customs and made even the king fiv before 

The above document (found among the old Huzur records) clearly 
brings to light that the kingdom of Travancore formerly extended as far as 
Cailpatnam (Kayalpatam) in the Tinnevelly District, that the king could not 
hold his own against the powerful barons of the country, that the Queen of 
Attungal was a powerful ruler and had a large ten-itory of her own, inde- 
pendent of Travancore (this explains the independent existence of the two 
Swarupams we have referred to, namely, Siraivoy ' near Attungal, and 
Tiruppapur), that besides the Queen there w^as a young Princess at 
Attungal of a very noble and manly conduct, and that commercial relations 
existed between the Queen of Attungal and the Dutch Company. The 
reference to Cochin is probably a mistake for Kolathunad from which 

806 Thavancore Manual. LGh1>. 

Tmvancoie made adoptions, or it may be that the Kaja of KolathunadwM 
at the time a tributary of the more powerful Prince of Cochin. We find 
the very same account in NieuliolFs Voi/ages and Travels to the East- 
Indies (1653 — 1672 A. I).). He says: — '* Tlie ancient race of the kings of 
Tmvanhoor owed its origine ioAttinjen, but foi' want of male heirs, one of 
the princes of Cochin was placed in that throne; the king who then reignedi 
being descended from the Cochin race of Rammerankoil and elected 
king of Travankoor,'' ^ 

The Dutch. The Dutch East India Company was formed in 
1602 A. 1). In the course of about fifty years the Company made very 
steady advance and formed numerous settlements all along the Malabar 
Coast ousting the Portuguese from most of their possessions. In 1653 
they laid siege to Cochin which soon suiTcndered, and the Portnguese 
left Cochin according to the terms of the surrender. The Dutch troops 
were then marched to treat with a petty king \nz. , the Rajah of 
Poracad and it was on this occasion that the Dutch general showed 
himself to be a very severe disciphnarian. For four days the soldiers 
were unable to get any food and two of them having slaughtered a cow 
stolen by them out of dire necessity, the general ordered one of them to 
be hanged f(Mtln\ ith and intended to shoot the other who was however 
saved by the intervention of the Rajah. After the treaty the Dutch 
troops marched against Cranganore. 

In 1()()1 A. I)., the Dutch again attacked the fort of Cochin which was 
bravely defended by the Poriuguese garrisc)n stationed there. The Kajah 
of Poracad came to the assistance of Cochin with six thousand native troops. 
The Dutch determined to retreat and embarked in silence in the dead of 
night. The Dutch admiral Van Goens appeared with a fleet before 
Quilon, then the chief i Portuguese possession in Travancore, in December 
1661. This was opposed by a large body of Xayars who in spite of 
their brave j-esistancc had at last to yield. The Dutch troops march- 
ed against the town which they soon occupied as the Portuguese 
gari-ison had fled to the neighbouring woods. They then took pos- 
session of the palac(» and the pagoda. The whole tow^n was pillaged and 
all the. churches were pulled down except that of St. Thomas. After 
this they marched against Cianganore which they found to be well forti- 
fied. After a bombardment f(n- fourteen days the place was stormed and 
the fortress at last surrendered to the Dutch. In October 1662 the 
Dutch returned to Cocliin but weie vigorously met by the Portuguese. 

* CliurcliillV Collrc'tiuii of Vnyairi-K t\\v\ Trnvrls. Vol. II. I»u«ro 227. 

VI. ] Karly History. a07 

But the attempt to prevent their landing faileil. Tlie liajah of Poracad 
arrived with a lai-ge force and threw supplies into tlie fort. The natives 
under the Portuguese officers met their foes most gallantly and inflicted 
severe losses on them. The Poracad contingent fought valiantly but had 
to yield in the end. The Portuguese finding that resistance was useless 
now that all were worn out with fatigue and anxiety, at last surrendered 
on the 8th of January 1663 leaving the Dutch masters of Cochin and of 
the entire commerce of Malabar. With this event ended the influence of 
the Portuguese on this Coast. 

A treaty was concluded between the Queen of Quilon and the Dutch 
by which her palace and the gims were restored and large sums were paid 
to indemnify her losses in the last war. In 1663 and 1664 alliances were 
formed between the Dutch and the chief princes of Travancore, the Com- 
pany being represented by Captain John Nieuhoff, and the kings of Karu- 
nagapalli, Travancore, Quilon and Kottarakara being parties to the trans- 
action. The articles of agreement were : — 

'* I. No body shall import, sell or exchange aiiision (opium) into these 
countries, except the Dutch East-India company, 

**II. No body, without any exception, shall be permitted to export any pep- 
per or cinamome out of this country, or to sell thon to any body, except to the 
said company. 

"III. A certain price was settled, betwixt both parties, and what share each 
should have in the customs, whereby all former pretensions and exceptions 
should be annulled." 

In connection with this treaty, the following account of Nieuhoif s 
interview with the Queen of Quilon in March l<)f)4 a. d., as told by him- 
self, is worth quoting : — 

" The 2nd of March with break of day, the vice-roy of the king of Tmrankoor 
caird by them Goi-epe, the chief commandar of the negroes, call'd Matta de Pnlo, 
and myself, set out for the court of the queen of Kimlunj, which was then kept at 
CalUere (Kallada). We arriv'd there about two a clock in the afternoon, and as 
soon as notice was given of our arrival, we were sent for to court, where after I 
had deliver'd the presents, and laid the money down for pepper, I was introduced 
into her majesty's presence. She had a guard of above 700 soldiers about her, all 
clad after the Malabar fashion ; the Queen's attirement being no more than a 
piece of callicoe wrapt round her middle, the upper part of her body appearing 
for the most part nalced, with a piece of callicoe hanging carelessly round her 
shoulders. Her ears, which were very long, her neck and arms were adom'd 
with precious stones, gold rings and bracelets, and her head cover'd with a piece of 
white callicoe. She was past her middle age, of a brown com plexion, with black hair 
tied in a knot behind, but of a majestic mein, she boin.:; a princess who shew'd 
great deal of good conduct in the management of her alTaii-s. After I had paid 
the usual compliments, I shew'd her the proposition I was to make to her in 
writing ; which she order'd to be read twice, the belter to understand the mean- 
ing of it, which being done, she ask'd me, whether this treaty comprehended all 

310 TnAVANTOTiE Manual. [Chap. 

north-east, and the soa to the west, being about 12 leagues in length ; its capital 
city is Porkci, Another of the chief cities is Knramallui' (KutamsSur), situate up 

in the same river with tlio cities of Cochin and Kcnlmuj,., The king reigning 

at PorAvi was a parson of 30 years of ago, very stately and well made 

He is a most absolute prince, acknowledging no superior, every fo»t of the 
countrey being his own, and at his disposal. Justice is administered here with 
extraordinary severity, especially on the account of theft, which makes this oiime 
scarce ever to be heard of here. " * 

The king's revenue was chiefly obtained from pirates on the coast. 

Among other kingdoms, mention may be made of Feritalli 
(Nedumangad), Elayadatiiu Swarupam (including Kottarakara, Pattana- 
puram, Shencottah and Calacaud), Pantalam, Tekkumkur (embracing 
the Taluqs of Tiruvalla, Changanachery and Kottayam), Vadakkumkur 
and Parur. 

Umayamma Rani ,5?~^i?. ^' ^^' • When Aditva Varma died 

1678 — 1684 A. 1). 

by treachery in Dhanu 854 m. k., the Royal family consisted of one 
female, tlie Queen of Attungal, and her six sons all minors. This 
is the Queen to whom Van Kheod refers in the extract quoted above 
in such flattering terms. The Ettuvittil Pillamars and their confeder- 
ates waited upon the Kani and gave their assurances of allegiance 
to her and her children only as a take-ofl' to the villainous act 
of treachery they liad determined upon against her and her issue. Five 
of the princes were inveigled to go to a bathing tank known as 
KalippanTiulam at Manakad (half a mile south of the Tnvandruzn 
tow^n), on a fine moonlight night along with other boys they ha4 
set up ostensibly for purposes of swim and play. As the boys 
were enjoying their swim, a few ruflians hired for the purpose 
came also to the tank under the pretext of bathing, and seizing 
the princes drowned them in the water. The confederates then spread 
a rumour to tlie effect that the princes were accidentally drowned 
in the tank while bathing. The shocking news of the simultaneous death 
of her five sons left no doubt in the mind of the Queen as to the 
cause of death and the hands that wrought it. She was entirely helpless 
and finding her stay at Puthcncottah unsafe, she retired with her only 
surviving son, a boy of nine years, to Nedumangad with a faithful staff of 
follow^ers. She then gave up all concern in tlie affairs of her government, 
her whole thoughts being centred on the safety of her son and heir. } 

* Chiirchiirfl CoUertitm of Voyages iinjl Travels, Vol. II. Page 223. 

t Miss AufTTiHta M. n^andfonl m<kon a miatnko on this point in her pretty little book on 
Travancore, called by her " The Land of the Conch Shell." She says :— ''The chief rendenctt off 
the Rajahs of those dnys was at a place about 30 miles from Trivnndnim, the preaent oapitftl^ 

VI.] Early History. 809 

over neighbouring princes, but of this I am convinced to the contrary by my 
own experience ; it is true they reverence him, as a potent king, but pay him no 
obedience. Others will have him to bo a vassal of the king of Nanmnfja. " 

This much is certain that the king of Travancore did exercise some 
control over the neighbouring princes, for we find him interfering with 
the Dutch Company for their burning the royal palace of Quilon and for 
driving Godavarma Eajah {Gondorino) of Vettatnad from Cochin, and that 
the Dutch Company always held him in very great esteem, 

Quilon (Caulang or Sinxjnaty). This small principality was, as we 
have seen already, ruled at this time by a Queen " past her middle age, of 
a brown complexion, of a majestic mein, a princess who showed a great 
deal of good conduct in the management of hjr affairs". 

*• The city of Koulang, the capital of a kingdom bearing the same name, 
is situate upon the sea shore of the coast of Malabar, about 13 French leagues 
to the south of Cochin. It is fortified \dth a stone wall of 18 or 20 foot high, and 
8 bastions ; its suburbs which are very large and stately, are by the PorhigHese 
called Colang China. For Konlang is separated into two bodies, one of which is 
called the Upper or Malabar Konlang, the other the Lower Konlang ; in the first 
the king ana queen kept their ordinary residences ; the last was formerly 

in the possession of the Portuguese as lying nearer to the sea side The 

houses of the inhabitants were very stately and lofty built of free stone. " 

The rulers of this State were closely allied to the Travancore Royal 
family and about 1600 a. d., the eldest member of the Quilon or Travancore 
family seems to have ruled over the whole country from Quilon to Cape 
Comorin. The Rajah of Kayangulam {Kalkoidang) was a very powerful 
prince being frequently at war with the king of Travancore and claiming 
a second place among tlie Princes of Travancore at this time. 

Kakunagapalli {Marta). " The kingdom of Mnrfa or Marten is very near aa 
big as that of Kalkoiilang, extending to the north as far as Pnrka ; to the south it 
borders upon the Indian sea, and to the east it is surrounded by high mountains, 

and washed by the same river, upon which C'Wi/?i and Kun/ang lie 

This king possesses some paits of the countrey in common with the king of 
Kalkoulangt a thing not usual on this coast, where are so many petty kingdoms, 
that it requires no small time, to distinguish and know them from one another. 

The king is a sovereign prince, he that then reigned being of about 

60 years of age, very large of body and a stern countenance; he keeps 
constantly 1,200 negroes in pay: his residence is at Camopohj (Karunagapalli), 
a place surrounded with an earthen wall of 20 feet high but appeared much 
decayed at the time." 

The capital of this State was Marta (Maruturkulangara) and 
Mavehkara (Maulikara) was another city belonging to this principality. 

PoRACAD {Porka), *' The kingdom of Porka, otherwise Perkatti, has bor- 
rowed its name from its capital city ; it borders to the north upon the kingdom of 
Cochin, to the south upon that of Kalkoulang, it has Tokken Berkenker to the 

812 Tkavancore Manual. [Chap. 

Maharajah took him at his word, and going there one afternoon un- 
awares went straight into the PiUai's house and seizing him by his kudumi 
(tuft of hair) asked him to show the cheetah-cub promised, whereupon the 
Pillai tried to extricate himself from the grip of the Maharajah, but the 
Maharajah overpowered him and cut him with his sword into two pieces — 
the spot in PaUichal whcrj this was done is still known as NaduvatkU' 
miu% literally 'cut into two '. The Pillai's properties were confiscated to 
the State and sold. The lands were purchased by a Brahmin Anaval and 
endowed by him for public charity, which continues to this day. All the 
Ettuvittil Pillamars were either executed or banished as the later his- 
tory will show— but it is believed they are not altogether extinct. Two 
families are said to exist and there was a great sensation caused sometime 
ago w^hen a meraber of one of these proscribed families applied for a govern- 
ment appointment. The application was stoutly opposed on the ground 
of the man belonging to this set of ancient traitors to the Travancore 
Eoyal house. A petty subordinate of mine in the Settlement Department 
claims to be a descendant of one of the families. 

Internal dissensions having broken out amongst the confederates 
themselves, anarchy and misrule prevailed throughout the country for 
some years. 

A Mahomedan invasion. Taking advantage of this state of 
affairs, a petty Sirdar named Mukilan under the Mogul Emperor who 
was leading a wandermg wayfaring life in the southern part of the Penin- 
sula with a number of horsemen, invaded the southern part of Travancore 
and carried on depredations among the people there. This was not probably 
the name of the Sirdar, but the name of his race * Mogul, ' which in the 
vernacular may be called Mukilan. The invasion is still known as 
Mukilan-padaiy literally 'Mogul's invasion.' None of the chiefs or 
nobles being able to oppose him or impede his march he soon i*eached 
Trivandrum which was deserted by tlie Yogakkars and Pillamai'S fleeing 
for their lives. A few faithful Pathans attached to the palace prevailed 
on the Sirdar not to demohsh or pollute the pagodas or convert the people 
to Islam. The Sirdar encamped at Manakad and exercised his sway up 
to Edaw^a in the north and became master of the country between 
Tovala and Edawa. He did not care to go to Nedumangad where the 
Bani was staying with her son. The Mahomedan conqueror imposed 
certain customs and obsei-vances peculiar to Mahomedans on 
the Malayah Sudras living between Varkala and Vilavankod which 
tr§xjt was now under his sway. They were : — 

VI.] Eakly Histohy. 8l8 

1. Males should cover their heads tuid females their bodies, when 
going out of doors. 

2. Males should undergo the coiemony of circumcision before the 
age of ten. 

3. During marriage ceremonies the relatives and friends of the 
family should sit together and eat from the same dish. 

4. Sudra women should cover the upper i)art of their bodies with 
a cloth like males and should not remain naked like their sisters of 
the north. 

5. Every child on being weaned should have a handkerchief tied 
round its head. 

6. Females should get themselves tattooed on some parts of their 

7. Females need not wear the lower cloth as the women of north 
Trivandrum do viz., rtroa^dwi (Thattudukka). 

Some of these customs still prevail among the Sudras in and about 

EIerala Varma. The exiled Kani at Nedmnangad now sought the aid 
of one Kerala Varma, a member of the northern Kottayam Kajah's family 
and related to the Travancore House, to diive the Mogul Sirdar and 
recover her country from him. Kerala Varma soon answered the 
call and raising a large force of archers at Neyyattinkara marched against 
the enemy. The Sirdar not having a sufficient force ready with him 
retreated to Tovala wOiere his horsemen had gone for collecting the 
revenue. He was closely pursued by Kerala Varma and in a battle at 
Tiruvattar, the Mogul chief was killed. Kerala Varma with the horses 
and weapons seized from the Mogul, organised a battalion of cavalry 
and soon brought all the refractory chiefs to obedience. He then 
went to Nedumangad to bring the Queen to Trivandrum where he 
acted as her principal counsellor and conoimander of the troops. 

Two palaces were constructed at Trivandrum called Tevarathu 
Koikal and Valia Koikal for the residence of the Queen and Kerala Varma 
respectively. When peace was restored, the Bani was greatly pleased with 
her commander whom she elevated to the position of Elaya Rajah or Heir- 
apparent. Subsequently misunderstandings arose between her and the 
heir-apparent and it is beUeved he was assassinated. He was one of the 
greatest poets of his time. 

VI.] Tkavancobe Manual. Sl4 

The Dutch. About 1()80 a. d., the Dutch began to realise the restdts 
of their policy in seeking Inido at the point of the sword. The expefises 
of the several garrisons maintained at the various settlements were 80 
large that their trade yielded no profits, and they began to consider the 
advisability of destroying the forts of Cannanore, Cochin, Cranganore and 
Quilon. But this resolution was not however carried out until some years 
after viz., 1697 a. d. 

The English. In 1034, the English East India Company obtain- 
ed from the Eani of Attungal, a sandy spot of land at Anjengo and 
appointed a commercial Resident there. The place was not well selected 
on account of want of good water and an open roadstead and surf render- 
ing shipping operations dangerous. But the selection was made on accoimt 
of the abundance of pepper and piece-goods there. When the place was 
fortified some years later, the cannon of the fort commanded the back- 
water, the main-stay of traffic, and the shipping in the roadstead. At the 
time of the English settlement and for several years subsequently, Tra- 
vancore did not offer facilities for commercial operations on account of 
the ascendancy of the Yogakkars and Pillamars making the Bajahs mere 
puppets at their hands. The English had now three factories ia 
Travancore viz., Anjengo in the territory of Attungal, Brinjohn (Vizinjam) 
andRuttera (Covalam). The Company paid ground rent in addition to 
the yearly presents. 

Ravi Varma ^|^2lI§^^^Lli_ . Kavi Varma, the son of Unah 
1684 — 1718 A. D. 

yaimna Rani, having attained his sixteenth year was installed on the 

musnud in 16S4 a. d., according to the laws of the country. As there 

was no heir to the throne and as the Dowager Rani had become 

old, an application was made to the house of Kolathunad for 

permission to adopt from that family. It appears that the application 

was at first declined, or rather there was a hesitation to comply with 

the request, in consequence of the assassination of Kerala Varma. But 

not long after, a Prince of the Kolathunad house happened to be a 

guest at the Travancore court on his way back from a pilgrimage to 

Ramesvaram, when the Rani availed herself of the opportunity to explain 

to him the close relationship and attachment that had existed between 

the two houses from very early times and obtained from him a promise 

that he would as soon as he reached his country send two of hn 

nieces and two of his nephews to be adopted as heirs to Travancose. 

The Queen honoured her guest with suitable hospitality and sent hiai to 

his country with a proper escort. The Prince kept his word and sent two 

VI.] Early History. 816 

princes by name Unni Kerala Varma and Rama Varma and also two 
princesses, all born of the same parents. They were accordingly adopt- 
ed with the necessary ceremonies and made heirs. A year after the 
adoption, the Dowager Eani and the elder of the adopted princesses died. 
The surviving Rani now became the Senior Rani of Attungal. 

In 1690 A. D., permission was gi-anted by the Queen to the English 
East India Company to build a fort at Anjengo which was completed about 
1695. The following description of the fort is given by Surgeon Ives 
in his diary dated 17th December 1767 a. d. : — 

" Anjengo fort is small but neat and strong ; it is a square with four bastions, 
having eight guns mounted on each, carrying a ball of eighteen pounds. Two of 
these bastion s face the sea, the other two the conn tr\^ Besides these there is a line 
of eighteen or twenty guns pointing towards the sea of eighteen and twenty-four 
pounders. About a pistol shot from the l)ack of the fort runs a river which 
besides a security to the factory, adds much to the agreeable situation of 
the place." " 

But the Pillamars and Madampimavs (petty chiefs) resented this 
act of the Rani, and in November 1697 a. d., the factory of Anjengo was 
violently attacked on the plea that the English were pirates, but without 
success. Mr. Logan writes: — 

" It may however be doubted whether this, their ostensible reason, was the 
true one, for as will pi-esently appear, the presence of the English in Travancore 
was gradually leading to a revolution in that State ". t 

The fort of Anjengo has since been of very great use to the Company's 
trade, and it was from here that the English were able to gradually extend 
their influence on the State affairs of Ti-avancore and Cochin. This fort, as 
we shall see, served them in later days as a depot for mihtary stores during 
the wars of the Carnatic ; it was also the point from which the first news 
of outward-bound ships reached Madras. 

In a letter, dated 6th June 1695, from the President and Council of 
Port St. George to the Company, referred to in the Press-lists of the 
ancient records of Fort St. George, we find that there was a contract 
for pepper entered into between the Queen of Attungal and the Danes 
about 1695 and that the Danes had a factory in the tenntory of the 
Queen of Attungal, probably Edawa. 

About this time the Dutch Company's business had considerably de- 
clined in spite of the strength of their numerous fortifications, for we find 
that in 1697 a. d., the Supreme Government at Batavia declared that the 

Ives'e Voyages. Page 191. 

The Malabar Manual, Vol. I. Page 3^. 

816 Travancork Manual. [Chap. 

Cochin fort should bo reduced to hcalf its size, that at Cannanore and 
Quilon only one tower was to be left standing, while at Cranganore the 
external works alone were to remain. The forces at all the military out- 
posts were ordered to be withdrawn excepting those at Paponetty, 
Poracad and Kayangulam, and the marine and other establishments ware 
considerably reduced. 

Relations between Madura and Travancore.— Nanja- 
nad. It is recorded in the Tamil chronicles that Visvanatha 
Nayak subdued some chiefs ot Travancore and levied tribute from 
them, in the name of his sovereign, the Emperor of Vijayanagar. 
Not long after, the great Tirumala Nayak reduced the Travancore 
sovereign to subjection, made the **Nanchi-nattu Rajah" the foremost 
among his vassals — the seventy-two Poligars, and appointed him 
to guard the bastions of the Pandyan capital. Whether these are 
historical facts or not. we have ample proof of one fact, that 
Tirumala Nayak's forces attacked Nanjanad and made certam portions 
of it their own about the year 809 M. E. (16H4 a. d.). The inscription of 
Kudiraipandivilai and Vaiyahvilai in the Taluq of Agastisvaram and 
copies of certain edicts, throw some additional light on the political and 
social conditions of Nanjanad during the ninth century of the Malabar era. 
It is clear from these records that the forces of Tirumala Nayak visited 
the country several times conquering and plundering wherever they 
went and that the country was in a state of anarchy and confusion 
for about half a century. Even in 1691 a. d., there was an invasion of 
Nanjanad by the forces of the Madura Nayaks. It should be remembered 
that the limits of Nanjanad which now comprise the Tovala and 
Agastisvaram TahKjs, were not the then limits of that tract. The records 
show that a large strip of land between Mangalam near Ponmana and 
Manakudi, formed part of Nanjanad, while a part of Agastisvaram Taluq 
from the Cape to Kottarani belonged to and was governed by the officers of 
Tirumala Nayak and his descendants. There existed in those days a parti- 
tion wall, the remnants of which are still to be seen from Manakudi to 
Pottaiyadi, and the triangular piece of land on the other side of the line 
including Variyur, Karungulam, Alagappapuram, Anjugramam, Cape Como- 
rin, Mahadanapuram and Agastisvaram, went by the name of Purattaya- 
nnd or Murattanad. There was thus great facility for the Nayak's forces 
to march into Nanjanad and commit depredations. Purattayanad 
formed part of the Pandyan kingdom and was governed by its officers 
during the eightli and ninth centuries M. i:. One of the edicts above 
referred to runs as follows : — 

VL] Early Histoby. 817 

InecEiptioii on the stone set up after redi'essing the grievances of the 

feopbd on the fourth day of the month of Kartikai in the year 873 M. e. 

(1697 A, D.). 

" Whereas owing to heavy losses sustained by the people on account of the 
invasion of the Nayakkar's forces at dififerent times from the year 852 m. e. 
4)677 A, D^) forward, we had remitted anjall tax in arrears for the years 849 to 
869 M. B-, that is, for two Knr crops and thirteen Pisa nam crops, or fifteen crops 
in all, We are pleased now and for ever to command the relinquishment of all 
claims for the following taxes viz., anjalij Jcidtnkai, kottapfvUvukaiiikkai, supplying 
eastor oil for torches, supplying cloths for the same and supplying paddy for 
royal birthdays ; and whereas between Mangalam and Manakudi the people 
have lost their title-deeds with the baskets * in which they were kept, we do 
hereby oommand that, should any of them be found in the possession of any one, 
they be at once torn to pieces then and there, excepting those that relate to 
property holdings and services which must be restored to the respective owners, 
that the cadjan bonds nnd kanam documents lost during the confusion and 
plunder caused by the forces, if they be produced by any one except the rightful 
owner, shall not be considered as proofs ; that the paddy alone be paid as 
pattom and melvaram, including tali and sankeiam for the Kar crops in the 
months of Alpasy and Kartikai, and for Pisanam cropb in the months of Panguny 
and Chittrai and that no money shall be paid or received at commutation 
value ; that with regara to pad^ikalam (debt bonds) and ubhniain-p'ilisa which 
could not be realised, the monies under padukalam deeds are excused as well 
as the penalties imposed upon particular individuals and funeral fees. We are 
farther pleased to declare with respect to sanketam and perumpaitu ryots that 
distraint of the above properties for their debts shall be of no avail, that for 
the debts due from sanketam there shall be no distraint of the villages but 
should be realised out of any residue left after paying the melcaram dues ; that 
during the payment of the taxes the ryots should produce the tax-receipt for the 
current year as well as for the year preceding ; and that whenever our employees 
go out, the Brahmin shall not get more than twelve valis and the Sucfra nine 
i*all8 per day and that in accordance with the neets issued mider dates 17th 
Alpasy 870 m. e. and 13th Vycausy 871 m. e, (1694-1695 a. d.) and the 
stones raised at Mavilai, Kudiraipandivilai and Vaiyalivilai in evidence 
thereof, the ryots are required to conduct themselves accordingly. " 

The above document, intended for the ryots inhabiting the southern 
portion of Nanjanad North, reveals many interesting customs and kinds of 
taxes to government then in vogue. There were at this time such cesses 
as padukalam, ubhayani-jyalisa, tanittandam and savukanikkai &c. In 
former days lands were never sold for arrears of tax, then known as 
padukalam debts, and after the said debts had been abolished, the in- 
terest on the amount of arrears was levied as an extra cess called paduka- 
lam-palisa. The people of Nanjanad had a right to make enquiries into 
the crimes committed by the individual members of the community and 
the penalty imposed on such criminals by a fixed committee was called 
^ppi^emt^LD (fines) and Qui ^dt^oArrL^iij (compensation to the 

• Even to this day cadjan docuraonts are preserved on'y in rattan »)aMkets by the 
indi)?enou8 population in rural partB. 

818 TBAvA^x'ORE Manual. [Chaj?. 

Bufferer). As the latter was abolished, the former alone remained in force 
and these fines were paid to the government. There were also special 
cesses called ^ne^mf^Gsi^metns (death dues) and euii ifi^^mir^imtm 
(marriage &c., dues), the latter of which was abolished. 

From the time of the advent of the Nayakkar forces the Travancore 
king was paying a tribute to the Madura kingdom. About the year 
1697 A. D., owing to the disorderly state of the Madura kingdom, the 
Travancore king was unpunctual in remitting his usual tribute to the 
Nayak's treasury. As usual an army of Vadukans was sent by the 
Madura State to collect the arrears. This army entered Travancore 
through the pass near Cape Comorin. They immediately began to devas- 
tate the country in every direction and finally blockaded the king in Eorku- 
1am (Kalkulam)* his principal fortress. The king of Travancore determin- 
ed to put an end to these periodical visitations of the Vadukans and also 
to get rid of the obnoxious factions in his own country viz., the Madampi- 
mars and Pillamars. With this double object, he opened negotiations 
with the officers of the Vaduka army, promising them that he would give 
them Korkulam and a few other districts if they would assist him in get- 
ting rid of the rebellious chiefs and lords. The Madura officers gladly 
accepted the offer and being placed in possession of the forts carried out 
their agreement by seizing and putting to death one or two of the re- 
fractory lords in the Trivandrum pagoda, while the others escaped or 
bought themselves off. But soon after, when the officers and troops of 
the Madura army had dispersed themselves about the town and were in 
great disorder, the king of Travancore collected a large army, captured 
the Kalkulam fortress which yielded without resistance and nearly des- 
troyed the Madura forces. A small body of them fled in the direction of 
the pass but they too were captured by the main body of the Travancore 
army and killed. 

It was about 1698 a. d., that Mangammal, the Queen-regent of 
Madura, actuated by a desire to repair this defeat and to exact the annual 
tribute which the Travancore king ceased to pay, entered on a war with 
Travancore and sent a large aimy under the ccrcmand of Narasappayya 
the Madura Dalawa. He invaded the country, conquered the Travan* 
core forces after hard fighting and returned to Trichinopoly with consider. 
able booty consisting of spices, jewels and guns. J 

^ Mr. Nelson in his Manual of Madura identities Korkulam with Quilon. Thia » avidentlj 
ft mitUkko. The place referred to mubt be Kalkulam or Padmanabbapuram. 

X The Madui-a Manual, Part III. Page 226. 

VI.] Eably Histoey. 819 

The attacks from Madura for collecting the arrears of tribute from 
the Travancore king became more frequent while the efforts of the 
latter to resist them seemed to be futile. The Nanjanad people, who 
had to bear the brunt of these frequent attacks, became naturally 
very callous to pay their homage and allegiance to their sovereign who 
was not able to protect them from his enemies. The feudal chieftains, 
therefore, became recalcitrant. Fresh taxes had to be imposed on them 
to meet the expenses of the army which had to be maintained on a very 
large scale. The discontent of the people developed into open revolt and 
the Nanjanadians are said to have convened five meetings in different 
places from 1702 a. d., forward. The following edicts found among the 
records of the Periavittu Mudaliar already referred to, written in Taropl, 
contain resolutions passed by the people of Nanjanad at four of these 
meetings : — 

Resolutions (Qunrifi^) dated first of Alpasy 878 m. e., passed by the 
nattars (people of Nanjanad) between Mangalam and Manakudi assembled 
in solemn meeting (^^az/r©^) at Vatasseri. 

"As our land has from the year 852 m. e., been the scene of distress on 
account of foreign invasions {u^l^>i^ tl^'^iLjix) from the east and oi troubles from 
within the State, we having failed owing to lack of union (and emigration ?) 
(«L^iiyti>0:^a;.TcyS) to make a bold stand and to have our grievances heard in 
that our property {^puji0), holdings (^^snjuqStrefi) and services {'StT^urTLL&) are 
being usurped by others, the village chieftains {jsieajdsnn) oppressing us in 
doing things not heard of before, the government listening to tales carried 
by backbiters from the country and harassmg us on account of old 
discharged padtikalam deeds and debt bonds and false padiikalam deeds and 
false documents produced by individuals, so much so that baskets are opened 
and documents produced with ease from any place where they happened to be at 
the time, government getting hold of debt bonds executed by PntHs {cu.Tp>Bs&r) 
and PHlamars (accoimtants) of the eleven matams appertaining to Sri Padmanabha 
Perumal and Adi Kesava Perumal, are not allowing us to sow our seeds and take 
the hajvest, in that they tried to enforce the redemption of chora-ottl {c^nrjiT^ 
p<S) and obtaining extra monies for sub-mortgages (9pQi(yp,S) in addition to taxes; 
in that we are deprived of our possessions by the (arbitrary) fixing of inscription 
stones ; our houses and things distrained after ousting the inmates, our Paraya 
slaves taker away by the Sirkar and made to work for them as they pleased and 
such other calamities have befallen us ; we do hereby resolve and determine that 
we do form ourselves into a body for union (and emigration), and that whenever 
any casualty should happen to any man in our country or to any village or 
pida^ai or any afifair occur that might cost some ten or sixteen fanams, the 
country should pay the same from the common funds and decide how best it 
could do under the circumstances and that whenever a calamity should happen 
to the country or to any village, the aggrieved person should meet in a common 
place and give intimation to the pidagakkarsy when we all should assemble, 
resolve and decide according to circumstances and that the case of those persona 
who in contravention of the terms of these resolutions fail to attend and weaken 
the cause thereby, would be considered and decided in the public meeting, 

330 TrtAVANcoKE Manual. [Chap. 

Upon the holy feet of Lord Thanumalaya Pernmal these resolutions are hrrevo- 
cahly passed. All the nnttcrs of the southern portion of Najfijanad Noclh 
consenting, signed Aruniukapei*umal. " 

The following resolutions were passed by the tiattars betweeii 
Mangalain and Manakudi assembled in solemn meeting for the second 
time at Asramam near Suchindram under date, the 14th Mftrgaly 
889 M. E., corresponding to December 1718 A. D. : — 

" As royal cavalry and troops have repeatedly and in large numbers caused 
great damage to us, and as while from the time this land came into existence 
we continued to pay anjnU and mehann for lands we possess by purchase, vws 
have Ijeen obliged to pay kuthtppmmm {QaniL&aL^uu^acru}) and imprecedented 
taxes, the land has suffered very grievously. Hereafter, therefore, we should, in 
accordance with the royal commands of our sovereign Kulasekhara Perumal 
Tampuran, continue to pay tnijall and melcnrani alone, but not any A'o/fo- 
ppanam and unusual taxes, and should protest against such attempts by unitedl>* 
making a bold stand and (if necessary) by emigrating. We should honooraUy 
keep up all the privileges or rights which om' ancestors enjoyed in olden days. 
If palace officers should come, we should give them allowances only at the rate 
of twelve measures (//<^//>) for each Brahmin and niue measures for each Nayar 
among them. As regards the balance of hottappuwm for the Kar crop of Ae 
above year, we should only pay arrcai*s as per account of the kelvl (c?««rrf), but 
if they" should demand any items as due from onjission {^Qs-S) or wrong entnes in 
accounts («fi&*c3ri,r^'I'L9#^r§), we should protest against such (unjust^ demands by 
unitedly making a hold stand and by emigrating. In thus asserting our rights, 
if any pidat/ni or village, or any single individual, is subjected to loss by acts of 
government, we should su])poit them by reimbursing such loss fnmi our 
common funds. If at such times any one should get into the secrets of govern- 
ment and impair the privileges or rights of the countiy , he should be subjected to 
a public enquir}' by the miftdnt. We have thus passed these resolutions taking 
oath at the feet of our Lord Thanumalaya Perumal and our Lord Bhuta- 
nathaswamy. Signed Aiiunuka Peinimal for the people of the northern and 
southern divisions of Nanjanad". 

Resolutions of the third meeting of the natcaT& held on the 15fch 
Vycausy 801 m. e. (171(5 a. d.) at Isantimangalam : — 

•* As from the year 82 m. k., on account of the annual visits of the royal 
cavalry and troops, the levy of unprecedented dues (^^r.dp^ao/o), and the pay- 
ment of the unusual taxes which have been imposed on Devada am, Brahmada- 
nam, Manlp'nn and Matappi'.ratn (LLL—ULfpti) tenures, religious ofiferings in tem* 
pies have Ixicn stopped ; as Srinivasa Bao has earned away flocks <rf sheep and 
herds of cattle as well as the leaders of the people (^ihueod^trff) ; as Beddy 
cow-herds have been daily lifting herds of cattle from the country ; as Anantoii 
Nayakkar has, in the southern division of Nanjanad, deprived women even of their 
marriage badges which were only cotton threads and ruptured tiie lobes 
of their eara, has canied away herds ot cattle, paddy and seed-grain from 
the countr}', and has besides appointed watchmen {Qu)LL(BatTmim)) oven every 
village and carried off i^addy and seed-grain from there ; as all the boxes contain- 
ing documents (title-deeds), gold and silver, jewels, brass vessels, articles of dress, 
paady and seed-grain of the whole countrv', w^hich hiwl been deposited at Subhin- 
oiam, in the hope that it would serve as a place of safety, being within the 
^nketaw (precincts of the Swamy there), have nil been looted (by fore^ 

VI.] Early History. 821 

marauders) ; as Suchindratn and Asramaui viUages have been set on tire ; as the 
shops there were all plundered ; as b}- these acts, even the precincts of the 
Swamy, have been tampered with ; and as tliough there have been thus numerous 
kinds of troubles in the country, the Kariakars and Swarupakars have not, 
under royal command, redressed our fjiievances, and enabled us to live in peace, 
we should leave uncultivated the whole countiy betweeii Mangalam and Mana- 
inidi from the Kar season of 892 m. e., and if after that the Kariakars and 
Swarupakars under royal command, redress our giievances and enable to Uve in 
peace, we may then cultivate our lands. We should keep up all privileges (or 
rights) in the country as in the days of our ancestors. Tf any in the country 
get into the secrets of the government and imderuiine the established privileges 
of the countr}', we should enquire into the matter and make such persons answer 
for the same both as a house (family) and a« individuals, personally (e^LLd^n 
^u>ai^Ct^irSu>). While thus managing our attairs, if the country', or any pldag d 
{tSu,/rms), or village, or any house, becomes subject to troubles, we should, 
as a body, moke ourselves strong by making a united stand, and migi*ating (if 
necessary). Signed" Arumuka Perunial on behalf of the northern and southern 
divisions of Nanjanad." 

There are clear references in this edict to two invasions by the 
Vadukar army under Srinivasa Rao and Anantoji Nayakkar, tw^o officers or 
agents of the nominal suzerain at Vijayanagar. 

The following are the proceedings of the fourth meeting held on the 
16th of Kartikai 898 m. e. (1722 a. D.)at Kadukkara by the ryots of 
Nanjanad, North and South, lying between Mangalam and Manakudi : — 

"1. On accovmt of the heavy taxes imposed on us and the cruel treatment 
which we were subjected to till the Kumbham harvest of 895 m. e. (1720 a. d.), 
we were forced to leave our fields uncultivated during the whole of the year 896 
M. B. ( 1721 A. D. ) and retreat to the east of the mountains. The sovereign, to- 
gether with the Pottimars, Pandalas, and the members of the Swarupam, en- 
oamjped at Bhutapandi and summoning the people of both the divisions of 
Nanjanad before him, redressed all then: grievances till the Kmnbham crop of 896 
M. E. (1721 A. D.). A royal writ was also executed to that effect and as a mark of 
special favour we were presented with a brass drum, a horn and a pmthi made 
of silver. Another writ was also issued cancelHng all heavy taxes, prohibiting 
tyranny in the land and reorganising only the original imposts. It was further 
agreed that the assembly at Nanjanad might continue to enjoy the powers and 
prerogatives originally vested in them. But when the assembly exercised those 
privileges by instituting a regular enquiry against those that infringed its laws, 
the sovereign came down upon the association and demoUshed the houses of two 
chiefs in each division (pidagal). 

"2. Sivasaila Mudahar, with the members of the Swarupam and their troops 

Sressed us hard for the payment of the unjust taxes levied on the Kanni crop of 
97 M. E. 

"3. The sovereign himself insisted on demanding thirty fanams per mathal on 
all lands including Bevadanam^ Brahmadauam, Kanduzhavn and even on waste 

" 4. Government exacted 125 fanams per kottah from the poor ryots who 
were not able to realise anything from the Kanni crop of 898, since it was a com- 
plete failure and thus doubled the amount, when they actually deserved a proper 
reduction in their payment. 

822 Travakcobe Manual. [Chap. 

"5. A similar exaction was made in Nallur and Yillipattu from unouUdvated 

**6. The officials were ordered to farm out all the unjust taxes from tbe vil- 
lages of Anumaketananallur and Yiravanallur, even when the sums had 
already been remitted by government. 

" 7. The Dalawa demanded the immediate payment of mathalpanatn, kotta- 
joauam and other imposts which were declared by the sovereign's writ, as having 
oeen prohibited in the kingdom. 

"8. The government appropriated to itself those lands which were lying 
barren and now cultivated by the r^'ots. 

*'9. The ryots were ordered to pay for the diy lands the taxes levied on the 
wet ones, after having paid their regular dues. 

"10. One-fom-th of the Kanni crop of 98 was forcibly wrested from their 

**11. The whole tax levied on the wet lands was levied on the seed-bed 
lands too for the non-payment of which the gi'ains stored in houses, the brass ves 
sels and the silver utensils of these rjots were all confiscated to the government. 

" 12. When the seven village watchmen were deputed to lay before the sover- 
eign at Kalkulam their insufferable grievances and even after their representing 
the deplorable state of affairs before the Pottimars, Pandalas and the members 
of the Swarupam, no measures were taken to redi'ess them in any way, but on 
the contrary Muthu Pillai with his troops besieged Darisanamkoppu and block- 
ading all entrance into it, suffered the cow^s and other helpless creatures to starve 
there for three days and committed other atrocities within it, such as, breaking 
the pots of the pooi* women who were camming water and confiscating paddy and 
other grains stored in their houses. 

''13. And lastly when the inhabitants in a body emigrated to Kadukkara, 
Muthu Pillai and Chittambalam Pandaram followed by hundi'eds of their ser- 
vants surrounded us there, and when they demanded the payment of our dues on 
the spot, we had to scale up the hills and settle on the other side ; then they 
plundered the whole of Kadukkara. 

"We therefore pass the following resolutions from the Chempakaraman 
Puthukal-matam, east of Alagiapandyapuram : — 

"1. That the taxes on the seed-bed lands and Icoltappanavi cannot be 

"2. That we will bind ourselves to pay only the unjall and the' other taxes 
originally existing on all our lands and cannot pay the mathalpanam imposed on 
Deoadanam, Brahmadanai)i kc. 

"3. That we will be prepared to make a bold stand and resist by force, if 
any measures be taken to enforce the unjust imposts, and even be willing to 
migrate into another country, leaving our Kumbham crop behind. 

"4. That if anybody — be he pidayakar, oorkar, or amhalakar — ^were to be- 
tray the proceedings of this assembly, being bribed by the government officers, or 
consent to pay the unjust taxes, he shall be liable to pay with his person and 
property, the penalty for such gross treacheiy. 

** 5. That when we have migrated to any new country wo fvill demand fit 
retribution for the high-handed murder of the amhalakartf. 

VI.] Eably History. 828 

" 6. That no amhalakar from our country be allowed to be employed as 
revenue farmers. 

"7. That if the government exact such new taxes from a person, village, or 
whole division, by confiscating the properties attached to them, the loss sustain- 
ed by the individuals or community be made good from our common fund. 

" 8. That if in the jeriod of our secession, any body be found lurking in the 
village and be caught by the officials he shall not only have to pay the dues him- 
self but also be liable to pay the penalty for his treason against the common- 

♦*9. That we will demand reparation for the destruction of the two houses in 
each division, which was sanctioned by the sovereign because the assembly used 
its legitimate powers. 

*' 10. That if the government does not make good their loss in this direction, 
we will take the money from our common funds. 

"11. That if any person from Nanjanad, North and South, serve as an 
accoimtant imder the government or betray our afifairs, he shall pay the penalty 
by forefeiting his property. 

"12. That, while the government has made its former promise of allowing 
our assembly to enjoy its former prerogatives null and void, if anybody take up 
arms on their side, he shall pay a similar penalty. 

" 13. That a similar penalty be inflicted on those who infringe the laws 
and customs of his class. 

"14. That, if the forces of the sovereign be encamped in our country, 
measures be taken to represent the matter before the Maharajah and the Swaru- 
paJcars, or we ourselves be prepared to emigrate somewhere. 

" 15. That these shall be the standing rules of our assembly and if any 
person attempt to dissolve our union, he shall incur the accursed sin of having 
butchered a cow on the banks of the Ganges; on the other hand the person who 
tries to consoUdate our union shall reap the supreme benefit of having given a 
cow to a Brahmin on the banks of the same river. 

"We swear on Thanumalayaperumal and Bhutalingam to preserve the 
rights of our assembly. These are the resolutions arrived at by the inhabi- 
tants of Nanjanad, North and South. Signed Arumuka Perumal." 

These edicts and the resolutions embodied in them speak for them- 
selves and do not require any comments here. The Nanjanad people 
became desperate. They were harassed on the one side by the marauders 
from the Pandyan kingdom and on the other by the king's officers who, 
when the former disappeared after plunder, put in their appearance only 
to demand fresh taxes for the so-called defence of the land. The spirit of 
lawless defiance to the king's authority engendered by this state of affairs 
reached its climax when the people openly met and resolved to take the life 
of any man who acted against the interests of the public therein assembled. 
Such a person was to be treated as a common enemy and dealt with ac- 
cordingly. The people also more than once abandoned their houses and took 

824 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

to the neighboiu'ing hills refusing to return to their villages unless the king 
promised redress to their grievances. Even service imder the king was de- 
clared treason against the commonwealth of Nanjanad. To this day the 
people of Nanjanad are as a class distinguished from the other Tvftr 
vancoreans by a bold address and plain speaking to the authorities — an ins- 
tinct inherited from long ages of suffering and resistance to misgoveflrxv 
nient. One of the most favoured forms of expressing grievances adopted 
by the people of the southern Taluqs to the sovereign is to say " Kindly 
allow us to go outside the Tovala frontier". As a matter of fact, they did 
go several times in former ages outside the Travancore frontieir when 
oppression by the king's officials or depredations by foreign armies 
became intolerable; but every time they went, they were called back to 
their homes by the ancient kings who always cajoled them with sweet 
promises of sympathy and better protection. 

Unni Kerala Varma ^^-=^^?^^-. On the death of Ravi Varma 

1 1 lo — 1 1 «4 A. D. 

in h93 m. e. (1718 a. d.), the elder of the adopted princes, Unni Ejerala 
Varma, succeeded to the throne. The country " had now been broken 
up into an immense number of small chieftainships over which the 
Rajah had very limited and precarious authority". This sovereign being 
of a very weak disposition, the Ettuvittil Pillamars were again in th» 
ascendant, usurping all authority from him. The main army of the 
State had been disbanded as the king's finances did not allow the 
maintaining of so large a soldiery. The small body of armed troops 
actually retained was divided into smaller deta-chmentc and posted 
at tlie different forts and palaces; so the army lay scattered over the land 
and could not be concentrated at one point. The rebel cliieftaina in the 
country now became a source of positive annoyance to the king, who re- 
moved bis residence to Neyyattinkara to avoid falling a prey to their 
violence. In 893 M. E. (1718 a. d.), a princess was adopted from the Kcdathn- 
nad family who in 899 m. e. (1724 a. d.) gave birth to the renowned 
king Rama Varma or Kilavan Rajah of Travancore. 

Murder of the English factors. In April 1721 a. d., while the 

Ettuvittil Pillamars were still supreme in the land, the usual annual pre- 
sents due from the factory at Anjengo were demanded in the name of the 
Qucon of Attungal. ** Those who demanded it assured the chief 
of the factory that they came to demand it by the Queen's order and 
offered their receipt of it in her name." The chief (Mr. Gyflford) appears 
to have suspected the message and feared that the presents would be 
seized by the Pillamars and would not reach the Queen. He therefore 

VI. 1 Eably History. 826 

refused to pay the money into any other's hand than that of the Queen, 
upon which the Rani invited him to Attungo,! to deliver the present per- 
sonally. '* And he, to appear great there, carried two of his council and 
some others of the factory with the most part of the military belonging to 
the garrison, and by stratagem they were all out off, except a few black 
servants whose heels and language saved them from the massacre, and 
they brought the sad news of the tragedy".* This occnrrcd on the 15th of 
April 1721. After this the murderers made for the fort of Anjengo which 
was most valiantly defended by Gunner Ince who repulsed every attempt 
of the besiegers to scale the walls. He kept the besiegers at bay till suc- 
cour came from Mr. Adams, the Chief of Tellicherry. The Enghsh factors 
were at the time powerless to take vengeance on the " great lords '*. 

On the 25th April 1723 a. d., the English Company under their local 
Chief, Dr. Alexander Orme, the father of the historian Hobert Orme, entered 
into a covenant with the Prince of Noyyattiakara by order of the king of 
Travancore, which contained the following articles : — 

"1. The King of Travancore by the end of June of the current year, 
is lx)und to order tlio erection of a fort in his country at Collache, and give the 
die with people to coin fanams on account of the Honourable company. 

** 2. If, within the time specified, a fort is not built at Collache, the Honour- 
able Company may bring the die to Anjengo and the Government will be obliged to 
send men to Anjengo to coin the fanams. 

" 3. The fortress which is to be built shall be at the cost of Government, as 
well as the pay of the people placed in it. 

" 4. The artillery and munitions of war for the fort, the Honourable Company 
is obliged to supply. 

** 5. After the erection of the fort at Collache, the die can be taken hither 
and the coinage of fanams canned on. 

" 6. The Government will be in league and united in good friendship with the 
Honourable Company. 

*• 7. Thus by order of the King of Travancore, was this treaty adjusted 
between myself. Prince of Neyyattinkaray, and Ccn mender Alexander Orme on 
the part of the Honourable Company and I have aflixed to this writing my 
signature and sent it by Ramen Kamen who drew it up." J 

The English Company had made up their minds to take vengeance on 
the **lords of the land" and subject the country to the king. In connection 
with the massacre above referred to, the resolution taken by the Honour- 
able Company is thus expressed in an ola f cadjan letter) written by the 
Travancore Rajah to Dr. Orme on the 15 th of August 1723 A. D. 

* Hamilton's New Aocount of the East Indios, Vol. I. Page 885. 
X Tlie Malabar Manual, Vol. III. Page 0. 


326 Tbavancokr Manual. [ChajP. 

^* Owing to the loss sustained by the Honourable Company in Uie oaptnm of 
Atinga, and the money and artillor>' which the eneiiiiefl robbed in our country, 
the Honourable Company have rcFolved, in spite of money expensed, to |mt doiWn 
the enr mies and Fuhject the connlry to the King, we are ready to do anytkiof, 
which tl Honcurr.ble Ccmprny mny rf quire, and shall personally come there and 
punihh ihe enrmies Ihrro in the Irst nnnncr you may desire, regarding which 
we affirm to do without fail and wish lo know when we must come there iHth 
our army," 

The following are the conditions which the Rajah of Travancore 
pledged to observe : — 

" 1. Owing to the fault committed by S:^ndu Comodu against the Honourable 
Company, I will oblign him to give a writing, in public, begging pardon for the 
fault he has been guilty of against the Honourable Company. 

"2. The arms which he seized from the dead soldier I will oblige him to 

return and pay a penalty for the fault. 

**3. For the parents of the dead soldier I will oblige him to pay them 1,001 
fanams by way of fine. 

"4. The vessels which pass by without paying the dues, excepting the ehipe 
of Europeans, the Honourable Company may send a watch Barge to seize all audi 
vessels at CoUache and direct them to pay the customs the expenses of which 
I shall bind to pay 4,000 fanams yearly to the Honourable Company. 

' 5. To all the ships on my borders and of my vassals, which should pay 
customs, I will give my writing. 

*'6. In future times, any of my vassals, acting in such a manner against the 
Honourable Company, both jointly should punish them and for which I shall give 
my writing to the Honourable Company. 

'' 7. In lieu of the dead soldier, I will bo obliged to send another to the 
Honourable Company. 

"8. As CoUache has been made over to the government of Landatu Carina 
(Holland — Dutch Company), at least on the half of the plaoe Which ptopeny 
belongs to me, I shall soon direct a hanksaul to be made and a post for the 
banner to be planted. 

'' 9. All the piece-goods and other things which the Honourable Company 
require, I shall order the merchants to supply. 

" 10. I shall soon confirm, by writing, that I shall not give to any other 
European nation any goods, which are necessary to the Honourable Rngli^K 

"11. The customs on exports and imports of the goods, the HononraUe 
Company may receive from merchants, but the rate of exchange should be 

" 12. Every year in various kinds, which the Honourable Company requin, 
I will order to supply up to 100,000 piece goods. 

** 13. In order to adjust the dues leviable from merchants, the Honourable 
Company will be oblig?d to give in gold or other articles on account, to the 
extent of 6,000 fanams yearly. All these things referred to above I did grant 
since the Honourable Company asked me.*' '*' 

* The Malabar Manual, Vol. III. Page 12. 

VL] Eably History. Sdt 

But the real amends for the murder of the factors at Anjengo and the 
loss incurred thereby were made only in 1731 a. d., when the Eajaii of 
Travancore and the Queen of Attungal granted the gardens of Palatadi 
and KottadaUi to the Honourable Company in satisfaction for the outrage. 
The grant ran thus : — 

'* Towards Clierreungue are the gardens of Palatady and Cottudali which were 
formerly bought by the Commander of Anjengo, hut, when on 15th April 1721, 
he and ten other persons went to Atenga to make presents to the Queen, they 
were killed by the treachery of Pullays and Kariakars. who seizd the money of 
the Honourable Company. Seeing the loss and damage thus done to the Honour- 
able Company, we have ceded the same gard ens to them, giving up their revenues 
and the right of cutting trees and all other privileges, which the Company may take 
and they and heirs may enjoy these gardens without any obstacle or having any 
obstruction ; but we are obliged to ask for a free passage and protection on the 
part of the Honourable Company. Thus, in truth, we confirm (the grants) with 
our signatures to the Commander on the 10th January 1731." ♦ 

Unni Kerala Varma died in 899 m. e. (1724 a. d.). During this reign, 
Nanjanad was divided into three portions viz, Bhutapandi, Chola- 
puraiii and Cheramangalam. It appears that one Kunda Pillay 
of Tinnevelly was made revenue oflScer of these divisions on condition of 
his paying two thousand fanams for each division exclusive of the 
expenses of maintaining Devalaya?ns and Brahmalayams foimd in those 
divisions. In 898 m. e., this arrangemsnt was interrupted by the rebel 
chiefs who collected the revenues for themselves and paid no part of it to 
the State. 

Rama Varma ^„^. nrrno ^ Unni Kerala Varma was succeed- 

l / Z4 — I /iio A. D. 

ed by his brother Rama Varma, who was adopted withhim. In 1726 a. d.. 
King Rama Varma in consultation with, and on the advice of. Prince 
Martanda Varma, his nephew now barely twenty years of age, determined 
once and for ever to completely break the confederacy of the Yogakkars 
and the Ettuvittil Pillamars. With this object the king went to 
Trichinopoly and entered into a treaty with the Madura Nayaks, by which 
he acknowledged the Madura suzerainty and agreed to pay a sum 
of three thousant rupees annually as tribute to Madura for supplying a 
suitable force to punish the Madampimars and other rebels. A large 
force consisting of one thousand cavalry under the command of 
Venkatapati Nayak, and two thousand Carnatic sepoys headed by Tiru- 
patiNayak and others in charge of fifty Sirdars, was brought from 
Madura. The refractory chiefs on seeing such a large force march against 
them fled for their hves. But the Yogakkars and the Pillamara 

** The Malabar Manixal, Vol. III. Page 19. 

S28 TravancoreJManual. [ Chap. 

fully knowng that harsh measures would not be taken against them 
as they were attached to DevaswamSy still continued their arrogant 
conduct. Afraid of their evil m.ichinations Prince Martanda Varina was 
obliged to reside at Attungal with the Senior Rani and her son Prince 
Eama Varma. 

On tha 19th March 172G a. d., the Queen of Attungal granted to the 
Anjengo factors the factory of Edawa. The following is a copy of the 
grant: — 

All that, which the Commander has spoken to Gristnava (the bearer of the 
usual presents to the Qu ion) ho has related to me ; the place which is now 
granted in Eddawa for a factoiy, is not for any interest of government, but 
that of obtaining the favour and h^Ip of the llonourablo Company during all 
the time which this Government and the Honourable Company should last, as 
well as that of au^^menting the custom duties of this Government. No Com- 
manders, who came in these days here, have obtained such a place as this 
Commander, so that he may acquire greater fame in the semce of the Honour- 
able Company it is that I have gi'antsd this place. The presents sent bj- the 
Commander through Gristnava to me and Pulamars have been i-eceived." * 

•^ From a letter from the Chief and factors at Anjengo to the President 
and Council, Fort St. George, referred t(j in the Press-lists of Madras 
Government records, we learn that there was an alliance in 1527 A. D., 
between the kings of Chinganad (Jayasimhanad or Quilon) and Peritalli 
and Vanganad to crush the king of Travancore. It is quite probable that 
this alliaiiCe was brought about by the Pillamars themselves. The special 
mention made of them in the ola referred to above clearly indicates their 

In 1728 A. D., the Senior Rani and her little son Kama Varma 
were waylaid on their way from Trivandmni to Attungal by a 
party of men sent by the Ettuviitil Pillamars for the purpose of assassi- 
nating the Rani and the youn:; prince. Kerala Varma Koil Tampnrant 
the Rani's Consort, who was at the head of the Queen's escort contrived 
the escape of the Q 10311 aud the Prinse to a neighbouring village, and to 
keep them out of harm's way got into thij Rani's palanquin and proceeded 
with thj journey. When stoppal by the insurgents, the brave Koil 
Tampuran rushed on them sword in hand and cut down many of them, 
but unfortunately lost his life in the conflict. He belonged to one of the 
few noble families from among whom consorts are chosen for the Banis 
of Travancore viz., the Kilimanur house which has existed in Travancore 
for above two centuries. The Kilimanur estate belonging to them is a 
freehold granted to the family by the sovereign for their maintenance 

* The Malabar Manual. Vol. III. V'mto 1 1. 

VI.] Eaely History. 829 

in affluence and dignity in recognition of the heroic services of this 
Eoil Tampuran. 

KiLiMANUR literally msaus ** th3 land of the parrot and the deer '* . 
So wild was the country when tha estate was grantad. It is situated 
nearly seven miles to the north-east of Attuugal, the saat of the Ranis and 
twenty-seven miles to the north of Trivandrum. It has an area of seventeen 
square miles with a population of eight thousand souls. According to tradi- 
tion, the village was owned by the 'Kunnumel Rajah/ a tui-bulent chief of the 
Pandala caste. The fort of Kilimanurandthu temples of Devesvaram and 
Mahadevesvaram are said to have been built by that Rajah. Daring the 
anarchic days of the Ettuvittil Pillamars, thi^> Rajah plotted against the 
Travancore king and consequently was disp'ossessed of his estate and 
Kilimanur became a portion of Travancore. 

The Kilimanur Koil Tampurans are the natives of Parappanad 
in Malabar. Their northern home is known as ** Tattari-kovilakam ". 
The great Martanda Varma Maharajah, the founder of Travancore, and 
his illustrious nephew Rama Varma, were the issue of the alliance with 
Kilimanur — a circumstance of which the members of that family always 
speak with just pride, as the writer himself heard from the lips of one of 
its senior members, a venerable old gentleman of eighty summers. The 
Koil Tampurans of Kilimanur were the first of their class to 
come and settle in Travancore and all the sovereigns of the State from 
Unni Kerala Varma to Her Highness Parvathi Bayi, sometime Queen- 
regent, were the issue of the Koil Tampurans of Kilimanur. Thus it 
will be seen that the Kiliminur house has been loyally and honourably 
connected with the Travancore Royal family for more than two 

King Rama Varma died in the year 1728 a. d., after a brief reign 
of four years and with this reign the Early History of Travancore may 
be said to close. A brief survey of the Government and the people, the 
power and influence of the neighbouring kingdoms and the relations with 
foreign merchants and settlers at this epoch may be of interest to the 
general reader. 

Porm of Government. The administration was in the main what 
it is now. The head of the administration under the direct 
orders of the king was known as the Valia Sarvadhikariakar corres- 
ponding to the Dewan of om* days. Under him were the Neetezhuthu Pillay 
or Secretary, Bayasom Pillay (the assistant or Under-secretary), several 

680 Travancobe Manual. [GhilF. 

Bayasoms or clerks and Kanakku Pillamars or accountants. Inferior in 
rank to the Valia SjrvaJhikariakar or Dewan, were officers knowB « 
Sarvadhikaris who had jurisdiction over districts. Political correa- 
pDnlea33 with neighbouring States or Europeans was carried on by the 
Valia Sarvadhi ; for he signed treaties and agreements. The office ol the 
Djwan was hold in tlie palace in the immediate presence of the king. All 
important questions were finally decided by the king himself. 

State of the country and chief events. Travancore at 
this pDriod extended from Attungal to Nagercoil. The dynasty of Jaya- 
simha still C3atinu3.l to rule th3 country between Azhikkal (Earunaga- 
p.iUi Talu|) in the north and Paravur in the south, and, as noted above, 
thoue was an alliance in 1727 a. d., between the chiefs of Chinganad and 
other Spates to crush the power of Travancore. Nanjanad which once 
form3d part of Travancore was at this time occupied by the Pandyans. The 
district between Chinganad and Nanjanad was the true Travancore and 
even in this small territory, the king's authority was nominal. The Ettu- 
vittil PiUamirs and the Madampimars usurped all power and the kixig 
was coJsLa itly in fear for his own life. King Aditya Vai'ma and the five 
80.13 Ol his nijjj U.niyarn nx Riii wjre cru-lly mardered by the Ettu- 
vittil Pillamars and the Rani herself fled for her life. Kerala Varma, 
the prin33 wli:) was invited from Kottayam regained for the Bani and her 
SDii thj bio ki:i?lo:n. Mirtanii Varma, whose career we shall notice 
hereafter, tried his b jst to keep the confederates in check during the laat 
two reigns of the pjrio.l but was nol successful. At the close of the epoch 
we find tliat King Rama Varma himself went to Trichinopoly to solicit aid 
to put down the rebels and restore order in his own dominions. Later .on, 
the Queen and her son were waylaid and an .attempt w^as made to murder 
them. Besides the Pillamars, the Yogakkars and the Madampimars, there 
appeared to have been other petty chieftains whose tributes contributed 
to the revenues of the State. These also grew refractory and the result was 
that the king was left literally without men or money. As a natural caa^ 
se'iajuje anirchy and coafusion in their worst forms stalked the land. 
The n3ighb:)uring chiefs cam.^ with armed marauders and committed 
dacoities from tim:j to tim J pluulering the people wholesale, not sparing 
even the ta'.i ' on their necks and the jewels on the ears of women. The 
headman of each village in his turn similarly treated his inferiors. The 
people of Nanjanad in a body fled to the adjoining hills on more than two 

• T 10 Ttili is tlu' )in«>. imporiani i»rii«in"Tit ol' TTindii u-onioii Tx'iujr tlic ba4ffe of th« 
mftrried 1if<^. 

VL] Eably HidTOHV. t8I 

oo^aaions, Gomplaixujig bitterly to the king of his efleteness and their own 

The Neighbouring Kingdoms. The once prosperous Pandyan 
kingdom (Madura) now under the eflfeminate sway of Tirumala Nayak's 
successors was in the last stage of decrepitude. On the death of Vijaya- 
ranganatha Chokanathan, there arose bcveral claimants for the throne and 
civil war ensued. The ccnterdirg f artics sought the aid of Mahomedans 
and Mahrattas and thus paved the way for their own final ruin. Tinne- 
velly was now under several Poligars who were once subject to the 
Madura Nayaks. They were practically independent and found congenial 
occupation in little wars among themselves. North of Venad lay several 
principalities, chief among them being Quilon, known as Jayasimhanad, 
Kottarakara or Elayadathu Swarupam including Pattanapuram, Shen- 
cottah and Calacaud, Kayangulam (including Karunagapalli), Pantalam, 
Ampalapuzha or Poracad, Tekkumkur embracing Tiruvalla, Changana- 
chery and Kottayam, Vadakkumkur, Punjar, Alangad, Parur and 
Edapally. These were all independent but were too weak to give any 
trouble to Travancore. Further northward lay Cochin, which had 
now become very much weakened by incessant wars with Calicut and 
other petty chiefs. The Nawab of the Carnatic was under the Nizam of 
Hyderabad who had already made himself independent of his nominal 
suzerain, the Mogul Emperor of Delhi. But the Nawab confined 
himself to the territories north of Trichinopoly. 

The Foreign Powers. The Portuguese though the first European 
power to establish factories in India were now displaced and their 
possessions taken by the later adventurers, the Dutch. These latter did 
not much care to acquire territory in India. But they had commercial 
settlements in Quilon, Kayangulam, Poracad and Kodungalur; and 
they occasionally interfered in the affairs of native Rajahs. 

By the end of the sixteenth century, England had risen to be a 
great naval power and was desirous, like the other European nations, to 
establish herself as a mercantile power in the East. To quote Sir Alfred 

" Continual expansion seems to have become part of our national habits 
and modes of growth. For good or for ill, England had becom-^ what she is in 
the world by the result of adventurous pioneering, by seeking her fortunes 
in the outlying regions of the Earth, by taking a vigorous part in the unending 
struggle out of which the settlement of the political world is evolved. "* 

* Hise and ExpaiiBion of the British Dominion in India. Page 346. 

8Sa Travancore Manual. [ Chap. 

The cha}ter of Queen Elizabeth in 1600 a. d., authorising " the Governor 
and Company of merchants of London trading to the East Indies " to carry 
on trade with all parts of Asia, Africa and America, the establishment of 
factories by them at Surat and other places, the starting of rival com- 
panies and the consequent quarrels and difficulties, the competition with 
other Eiu'opean powers, and the ultimate coalescing of the different con- 
flicting interests into a united association of merchants known as the 
"United East India Company '*, are all facts too well known in Indian 
history to require spacial mention here. It is sufficient for our purpose 
here to state that the Company obtained permission from the Queen of 
Attungal to build a factory in her territory. The treaty with the Travan- 
core king was entered into in 988 M. e., as has been already noticed. 
They had already established themselves at Edawa, Euttera (Covalam) and 
Brinjohn (Vizhinjam) besides Anjengo. 


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VI,] 388 

Section C — Modebn Histoby, 

'' Histories make men wise '*. 

'* The world knows nothing of its fipreaiest men ". 


Mabtanda Vabma 904-933 m. e. 

1729—1758 A. D. 

Martanda Varma, the founder of modern Travancore, succeeded his 
uncle at the early age of twenty-three. He ascended the musnud in 
904 M. E. (1729 A. D.). At the time of his accession the state of the 
country was far from happy. There were no organised departments for 
the transaction of State business. The finances were in an extremely 
unsatisfactory condition. The country was honeycombed with petty 
chieftains, who collecting around themselves bands of brigands, subsisted 
on pillage and plunder and harassed the Rajah and his people by tumSi 
frustrating all attempts to establish order or any settled form of govern- 
ment. The Rajah's following was small and his authority so nominal 
that the Ettuvittil Pillamars and the Madampimars were more or less 
independent rulers of their own estates. Anarchy prevailed in South 
Travancore to a sad extent which was further intensified by the regicidal 
proclivities of these petty chieftains and the Yogakkars — a body of mana- 
gers of the temple of Sri Padmanabhaswamy owning enormous landed 
wealth and commanding the influence and power which go with it. The 
young Rajah had a very hard task before him. Even as First Prince * and 
Elaya Rajah + of tender years, he set himself to put down with a strong 
hand the lawlessness of these disloyal chiefs. In consequence, he had 
earned their undpng hatred and his life was more than once attempted. 
He sought the aid of the English and the Dutch and would have com- 
pletely quelled the rebels but for the timidity and weakness of his uncle 
the King who compelled him to desist. He had fled from place to place 
and on several occasions slept on the tops of trees in far off jungles. 

Now that he was the acknowledged sovereign of the land he, with the 
instincts of a true soldier, set to work to establish his sway and consoli- 
date the State, and before the close of his reign in 1758 a. d., he had 

* Heir-presnmptive. 
f Heir-appmremt. 

884 TiuvANcoBE Manval. [Chap. 

regained all the lost tracts, strengthened his rule, established order and 
improved his resources thus wiping out the ignominy and humiliatioii to 
which his ancestors had been subjected for two centuries. Men of real 
worth were selected to fill offices of trust and responsibility. Aromnkam 
Pillai, the acting Dalawa and an officer of high merit, was confirmed and 
Kumaraswamy Pillai, a brave and veteran soldier, was made the Comman- 
der-in-chief, with Thanu Pillai, the Dalawa's brother, as his assistani. 
In the Palace establishment, Bama lyen, an intelligent and honest Brails 
min youth of the State itself, was appointed Bayasom (Under-seere- 
tary), an office of great trust and difficulty in those times. 

Martanda Varma reorganised the financial department, enforced eco- 
nomy in every branch of the State expenditure and improved the army. The 
regiments were increased in number, better discipline was enforced, supe- 
rior arms were supplied and a better sense of loyalty and obedience was 
infused among the rank and file. With a strong and well-disciplined 
army at his disposal, the young Maharajah thought the maintenance of 
the Trichinopoly forces an unnecessary drain on his treasury and there- 
upon disbanded it, and in its place he soon raised an army of Maravas« 

The Tampi Insurrection. 905 m. e. (1730 a. d.). The lat^ 
Maharajah had left two sons known as " Kunju Tampis " alias Pappa 
Tampi and Baman Tampi. Taking advantage of the disorganised state 
of the country and at the instigation of the wicked insurgents, the EttO* 
vittil Pillamars or heads of eight houses, the Madampimars (petty chiefs) 
and the Yogakkars already referred to, the Tampis secretly repaired 1|Q 
Trichinopoly in 1729 a. d., with a view to secure the help of the Pandyan 
Governor there in order to defy the authority of the young Bajah. On- 
their arrival at Trichinopoly, they were welcomed by the Governor with 
all honours due to the sons of the Maharajah. They told him that tbp 
young King of Travancore was a usurper, that he had no respect for thf 
Pandyan Chief and that the dismissal of the contingent and non-payment 
of the tribute were only preliminaries to an invasion of the Pandyao 
Kingdom itself. They further told him that, as sons of the late Maharajah, 
they were according to the principles of natural justice the proper heirs 
to their father's throne, and that the new tyrant besides dispossessing them 
of this right had even denied them the bare means of a decent living. 

The Governor who was already exasperated against the Maharajah 
for his having disbanded the Trichinopoly contingent, espoused their cause 
with avidity and deputed one of his officers, Alagappa Mudaliar by name 

Vl.] Modern History — Martanda Varma. dS5 

with a small force to enquire into the claims of the rival parties and to 
install Pappn Tampi the elder son on his father's throne. Pappu Tampi 
was much gratified and in return promised to bear all the expenses of the 
undertaking and to pay a large tribute when he was placed on the throne. 
For a time, everything seemed bright and prosperous to the Tampi's 
dream. The army arrived at Udayagiri and encamped at Puliakurichi. 
The Mudaliar called upon the Maharajah to explain his conduct. Palace 
Bayasom Bama lyen and Narayana lyen were thereupon deputed to negoti- 
ate with the Mudaliar and acquaint him with the law of inheritance obtain- 
ing on this coast. They discussed the question as instructed and con- 
vinced the Mudaliar that in the Boyal family of Travancore succession 
was in the female line, that the nephews inherit the uncles' property, that 
the kings marry from families inferior to themselves in point of caste, 
that the sons begotten of such union have therefore no title of succession 
to the throne and that a liberal provision is always made from the State 
funds for their maintenance in comfort and dignity. The Mudaliar 
having heard them and satisfied himself from independent enquiries, dis- 
missed the claims of the Tampis as utterly false, reprimanded them 
severely for their conduct and advised them to be loyal and faithful to 
their father's nephew and their own rightful sovereign. The Maharajah 
sent suitable presents to the Mudaliar who at once left the country quite 
pleased, leaving behind him half of his force to help the Maharajah 
against his refractory subjects. The Maharajah, however, still apprehended 
fresh outbreaks from the disloyal Tampis and their wicked confederates 
and therefore organised several new regiments of Maravas equipped with 
fire-arras and constructed forts at all important strategic points. The 
just decision of the Mudaliar, the retention of a portion of the Trichino- 
poly force, the new fortifications, the raising of the additional regiments 
and the mobilisation of the forces throughout the country struck awe into 
the hearts of the rebellious Tampis and the confederate chieftains, and 
secured peace to the Maharajah and his subjects. For a long time there- 
after, the insurgents did not make any attempts to recover their lost 

The King then ordered the building anew of the temple of Sri Pad* 
manabhaswamy, his family deity, himself personally supervising the 
work. The image of the God was remade and 12,000 Saligramams were 
put into the idol itself. The front mantapam of the inner shrine 
known as Otfakkal mantapam was built in 1730 a. d., with one 
huge slab of stone, 20 feet square and 2J feet thick, brought from the 
Tirumala hill three miles from the capital (Trivandruni). The next thing 

d36 Travancore Manual. [Chap^ 

that engaged the attention of the Maharajah was the improvement of the 
irrigation system of Nanjanad and two important dams of irrigation work, 
viz., the " Ponmana dam " and the " Puthenar dam " were constructed. 
The construction of the dams was personally superintended by His 
Highness himself and the people still fondly point to the hole made in the 
rock on which the Maharajah sat as the one in which a huge cadjan um- 
brella was fixed, thus saving to the Dam Works the labour of one servant 
who was to hold on His Highness the umbrella. The present writer has 
himself seen the hole in the rock at Puthen Anai in which the Maha- 
rajah's umbrella is said to have been fixed. The Puthenar dam besides 
supplying water for irrigation purposes, supplied also good drinking water 
to the inhabitants of Padmanabhapuram, the Maharajah's capital. Mftny 
public roads were opene.l and markets and thoroughfares were established. 
The rules of revenue procedm-e were improved ; the power of the Yogak- 
kars was broken and the supreme authority over the Sri Padmanabha- 
swamy temple virtually i)a9sed into the bauds of the Maharajali. Thus 
within two years, various reforms were introduced in all the departments 
of the State. 

The Ettuvittil Pillamars. The discomfiture of the Tampis only 
quieted the Ettuvittil Pillamars for a time. Their rebellious spirit was 
scotched, nob extinguished. The new reforms and the popularity of the 
Maharajah roused their hate against him more than ever and they 
therefore resolved to put an end to the sovereignty of Martanda Varma 
once for all. A conference was held by them in the niantapam of the 
Venganur Ambalam, an inn about seven miles south of Trivandrum. They 
there unanimously resolved to assassinate the King during his procession 
to the sea-beach on the next A urat day. This resolution was committed 
to writing in cadjan olas and secretly circulated amongst their friends 
and adherents, — the ola-chits themselves being carried in the shppers of 
the messengers. 

The Maharajah duly came to know of these proceedings. An old and 
faithful Pandaram — the keeper of the well attached to the inn (Ambalam) 
— ^having overheard the resolutions of the conspirators at the Yengannr 
meeting brought accurate news of tlie conspii-acy to Bama lyen who 
acquainted the Maharajah of the same. Detectives were employed to 
intercept the cadjan letters carried by the messengers to the conspirators. 
Two such messengers were seized with the oZa.s containing copies of 
the resolution in their slippers. They were closely imprisoned in the 
palace and the news was kept very secret. The intercepting of the 
conspiracy letters was not known to the rebels. They were anxiously 

VL ] Modern Histoky — Martanda Varma. 887 

looking forward to the Aurat day of the Panguni Ootsavam (festival) 
for the execution of their plans. 

With the approach of the festival in the Padmanabhaswamy temple, 
the rebel chieftains and their retinues flocked in large numbers to Tri- 
vandrum. When the procession itself started from the temple, the King 
walked boldly in front of Padmanabha*s image with the State sword in 
hand. He was escorted by an unusually strong body of troops whose 
disposition told the rebels clearly what tlie Maliarajah meant. Thus 
outwitted and cowed down, the rebel chiefs meekly escorted the idol to 
the sea-beach and back again to the temple tiying their best not to look 
foolish in the discovery of their plot and their own ignominious dis- 

A few months later the Maharajah toured down to Nagercoil and 
there in consultation with his minister determined upon the extirpation 
of the refractory Pillamars of the eight houses. Secret orders were issued 
to the mihtary to simultaneously arrest all the rebel chieftains at a given 
signal. Horsemen were posted between Nagercoil and Trivandrum for 
carrying out the order. During these preparations Pappu Tampi came 
one morning to the palace to pay his respects to the Maharajah. The 
guards on duty had been specially instructed not to let him in but to 
resist him by force if he should attempt a forcible entry. The sons of 
kings had the privilege of paying respects to their father's heir and 
successor without the formality of a previous announcement, and in 
accordance with that privilege, Pappu Tampi that morning walked 
straight up the stairs. But the sentries on guard stopped him which 
incensed him and he, in order to avenge the insult offered, drew his 
sword ; but before he could strike, he was mortally wounded by another 
sentry from behind. The younger Tampi who was witnessing the whole 
scene from behind immediately rushed upstairs to revenge himself 
upon the King seated on his swinging cot and struck him ; but the blow 
missed its aim, the sword hitting against the low beam of the roof which 
gave the King time to recover himself from the shock, and being a clever 
swordsman and a well-built soldier he disarmed the Tampi, threw him 
down and sitting on his chest, plunged his Persian dagger into his heart 
and lifting the dead body, threw it over the window amidst the assembled 
crowd below. The few followers of the Tampi who stood outside the 
palace took to their heels as soon as they saw the fate of their master. 
Orders were immediately issued for the arrest of all the rebels, 
troops were speedily sent to Trivandrum and in a few hours the Pilla- 
mars were seized and bound in chains. They were duly brought to 

838 Travancoke Manual. [CflAP. 

Nagercoil and ushered into the Kings' presence. The two mesadil{6ffi 
who had been closely imprisoned in the palace were then ptoduced. 
The olas were read to them. The rebels admitted their crime, the 
weaker among them craved for mercy. The King was too noble to be 
blinded by any spirit of vindictiveness but ordered a judicial enquiry iakO 
the conspiracy after which judgment was duly pronounced with thi 
following result. The four Pottis among the conspirators were to bd 
banished the land, the other rebels were to suffer immediate deaths 
and their properties were to be confiscated to the State. Their women 
and children were to be sold to the fishermen of the coast as slaves. 
The Edathura Fotti and the Pandarams (Elampallur Pandaram end 
Edathura l^andaram) were driven out of the country. The execution of 
the rebels took place at the MuJihuniantapam (Cutchery) at Padma- 
nabhapuram. The houses of the Ettuvittil Pillamars were forthwith 
razed to tlie ground and with the materials thereof the magnificient pile 
of buildings known as Ramananiatam and the Tevarathukoikal at 
Trivandrum were constructed. Thus ended the long tale of crime and 
bloodshed committed by the lawless band of Ettuvittil Pillamars and 
Madampimars who molested the land for a period of two centuries 
and more. 

Ministerial changes. Arumukam Pillai the minister died in 911 
M. B. (1736 A. D.). His brother who succeeded liim died within a year after. 
In 912 M. E., Rama lyen was appointed Dalawa. The King was now at 
the head of a prosperous kingdom and a powerful army. With so capabltf 
a counsellor as Rama lyen at his back, he set his heart upon extending 
his dominion northwards. 

Amalgamation of Travancore with Attungal. After the 

suppression of the internal revolt, the consolidation and extension of his 
dominion engaged Martanda Varma*s attention. 

" I'he Tamburetties of Attingara possessed the sovereignty of Travaneoiw 

from remote andquity, until Eaja Martanden Wurmah persuaded the 

Tamburetty to resign the sovereign authoraity to the Bajas, both for herself and 
for all succeeding Tamburctties. To perpetuate these conditions, a regular treaty 
was executed between the Eaja and the Tamburetty, which was inscribed on a 
silver plate, and ratified by the most solemn imprecations, limiting the suc- 
cessions to the offsprings of the Attinga Tamburctties. Having concluded fhn 
arrangement Eaja Martanden Wurmah directed his arms against the neighbour* 
ing states."* 

Extension of Territory— First conquest of Quilon. In: 

906 M. E. (1731 A. D.), the Bajah of Desinganad (modem Quilon) who 

•" — — _— ^ — __ — ___ — — ■ ■ ■ " ■ ■ ■< 

• Hamilton'p Description of Hindr>ftan. Vol. If. Vrtpi: 315. 

VI. ] Modern Histokv— Maj-tanda Varrna. 889 

wftB a coufiin of the Travancore Maharajah adopted a Princess from 
the Boyal family of Kayangulam. The Travancore Maharajah was not 
Qonsulted. He therefore suspected that the alliance meant a combination 
between his cousin and the Kayangulam Eajah for offensive and defensive 
purposes against himself (Travancore). Incensed at this action of the 
Qoilon Rajah, the Maharajah invaded Quilon with a powerful army, took 
it and destroyed its forts and other defensive works. The Eajah being 
thus defeated entered into a treaty with the Travancore King, by which he 
agreed to cancel the Kayangulam adoption, to pay tribute to Travancore, 
to demolish his fortifications, to break off his alliance with the Eajah of 
Kayangulam and further agreed to the annexation by Travancore of his 
own territory after his death. The Quilon Eajah was then brought to 
Trivandrum and lodged in the palace at Yaliakoikal and was kept in 
State Prison though treated like a noble guest and relative. A small 
detachment of soldiers was stationed at Quilon for its peace under the 
command of Dalawa Arumukam Pillai. 

War with Kayangulam. The Eajali of Kayangulam viewed these 
proceedings with alarm and allying himself with the Eajah of Cochin, sent 
secret emissaries to Trivandrum to inform the captive Prince that if he 
could escape from imprisonment and return to Quilon he would help him 
to got back the lost territory. The Eajah managed to escape from Tri- 
vaudrum and joined the Kayangulam Chief. On his return, new forts 
weire built, additional troops were raised and Quilon was strengthened 
with a view to withstand attacks from Travancore. The Maharajah on 
learning of the Quilon Eajah's escape sent Eama lyen with a large army 
to recapture him. But Eama lyen's forces could not make any impres^ 
sion on the strong fortifications of Quilon and he therefore retreated. 
Elated with this success, the Eajah of Quilon with the help of the Kayan- 
giJam Chief invaded the territories of Travancore at Kallada and Maveli- 

Enraged at the intrusion of the Kayangulam Eajah in the affairs of 
himself and his relative (the Quilon Eajah) which they had already settled 
amongst themselves, the Maharajah made preparations for a simultaneous 
attack on Quilon and Kayangulam. Large additions were made to the 
infantry and fire-anns were obtained from English merchants trading at 
Angengo and Edawa. Thus strongly equipped, lie sent out two large re- 
giments to attack Quilon and Kayangulam simultaneously. This was in 
909 M. E. (1734 A. D.). Several battles were fought against the Kayan- 
gulam Eajah but without any decisive result. At last in a sanguinary 
fight in which the Eajah of Kayangulam personally commanded his army, 

840 Travancore Manual. [Chap. 

he was mortally wounded by a Travancore sepoy. On the death of their 
Chief the whole army fled in confusion, but Kayangulam was not conquer- 
ed. The Rajah's brother succeeded to the throne and the war was con- 
tinned with greater vigour by him. The Mahai-ajah reinforced his army 
by obtaining the services of a thousand mounted troops from the Poligar 
of Tinnevelly and a few regiments of Maravas commanded by Pomiaii 
Pandya Tevan, and put the Dalawa Anmiukam Pillai at the head of the 
combined forces. The army marched into the Kayangulam territory and 
several important places were captured. Although the Kayangulam Chief 
had his old fort strengthened and new ones built, and though his huge 
army was reinforced by contingents from the Kottayam and Changa- 
nachery Rajahs, he understood his perilous situation and seeing no help 
forthcoming from Cochin or tlie Dutch sued for peace and a trace was 
effected. The win- was thus brought to a close and hostilities were sus- 
pended for a time. 

Elayadathu Swarupam. In yoy m. e. U734 a. d.), Vira Kerala 
Varma, Rajah of Elayadathu Swarupam, comprising the modem Taluqs of 
Shencottah, ^'alliyur (British territory), Kottarakara, Pattanapurom and 
Nedumangad, died and was succeeded by a young Princess whose territo- 
ries were administered by an unprincipled officer known as Saravadhi- 
kariakar. The jVIaharajah unwilling to permit the notorious regent to 
commit aggressions into his own territories interfered, banished the 
Saravadhikariakar and took the Government into his own hands, permit-^ 
ting the Princess to live either at Kottarakara or at Trivandram as she 
pleased on a liberal pension. But the territory was actually annexed only in 
916 M. E., under the peculiar circumstances detailed later on. 

Kayangulana war continued— Dutch Interference. In the 

same year the Rajah of Quilon died the Rajah of Kayangulam usurped 
the throne basing his claim on the adoption of 906 M. k., though that 
adoption had already been declared null and void by the peace of Quilon. 
The Maharajah remonstrated but to no purpose. The Rajah was strongly 
supported by the Cochin Rajah and tlit^ Dutch. 

The subsequent events bccrme specially interesting as the Dutch, 
at least the then Dutch Governor at Cochin, M. A. Maten, directly inter- 
fered in the war and took the field against Travancore. He sent a 
message to Maharajah Martanda Varma asking him to stop farther 
aggressions on Kayangulam and Quilon. The Maharajah pohtely replied 
that he (the Governor) need not trouble himself about affairs which did 
not concern him. 

VI. 1 Modern Histohy— ^Murtanda Vavma, 841 

A little later in 1739 a. d., M. Van Imhoff, the Dutch Governor of 
Ceylon, came to Cochin to examine into and report on the Cochin ac- 
counts. In his report to the Supreme Government at Batavia, dated 6th 
July 1739, he says ** that the king of Travancore having been successful 
jn the wars which he had undertaken, had rendered himself so much res- 
pected among the chief kings of the Malabar coast, that he was looked 
upon by every one with eyes of jealousy and apprehension ". He was 
therefore of opinion, " that if it were requisite for the Company to maintain 
a balance of power amongst the chiefs of the Malabar coast, it could never 
be made to preponderate more to the prejudice or danger of the Company 
than in favour of that prince, who was almost wholly attached to their 
competitors, and whose increase of power could not but be pregnant with 
the most alarming consequences to their interests, whilst he at the same 
time merited some chastisement for his insolence towards them, inde- 
pendent of the primary consideration of maintaining a due balance among 
the native powers of Malabar/'* So having the curtailment of the rising 
power of Travancore as his chief object, he took up the cause of the Prin- 
cess of the Elayadathu Swarupam and sent a protest to the King of 
Travancore in 1740 espousing her cause. But seeing that his messages 
did not take effect, he sought a personal interview during which he tried 
persuasion, but finding it of no avail threatened an immediate invasion of 
his territories. The Maharajah jestingly said that, if the *' superior power *' 
should go that length, ** there are forests in Travancore into which I and 
my people can retire in safety ". Imhoff retorted, ** where the Travancoreans 
could go the Dutch could follow ". And the interview is said to have 
abruptly closed with a scornful remark from His Highness that " he had 
himself been thinking of some day invading Europe with his viu?i^hies 
(canoes) and fishermen*'. Unfortunately for the Dutch Governor Imhoff, 
his threat could not be immediately put into action as the strength of the 
military forces under his command was not adequate to cope with the well- 
disciplined forces of Travancore. He wrote to Ceylon for a detachment of 
infantry and artillery, while he collected a force at Quilon and trained the 
men in warfare for sudden emergencies. 

Annexation of Elayadathu Swarupam. In 1741 a. d. , Van 
Imhoff installed the Princess of Elayadathu Swarupam on her throne in de- 
fiance of the Maharajah. In retm^n he got some lands and some privileges 
from her viz., " a large farm at Airoor, about three Dutch miles from Quilon, 
and also Bichoor in the Berkencoor country, where they erected a strong 
redoubt, '* which were all abandoned at the peace of 1742. When these 

* Btavorinofi* Voyages to the EaHt Indies, Vol. III. Page 240. 

842 TiuvANCoHK MoTAL. [Chap. 

proceedings came to the kno\vletlge of the Maharajali, he collected his 
forces and attacked the Dutch and the Elayadathu Princess. The Dutch 
were completel}^ defeated and not one soldier of the Dutch regiments 
remained to tell the tale of the triumphal annexation of Elayadathu 
Swarupam to Travancore. The Princess fled to Cochin and placed 
herself under the protection of Van Imhofif and, it is said, " the Dutch 
pensioned her at two rupees five annas (dail}' it is to be hoped) ". The 
Maharajah's army tlien attacked the Dutch forts in Travancore and 
captured all of them. The Dutch retired to Cochin. At the same time 
the Danes weie deprived of their factory at Colachel. 

The Dutch war. Battlj: of Colachkl. After thus defeating the 
Dutch, the ^Maharajah turned his attention to Kayangulam. When the 
greater portion of the Travancore forces was concentrated on Kayangulam, 
fresh reinforcements arrived from Ceylon with which the Dutch invaded 
the Travancore territory. They landed at Tengapatnam, Cadiapatnam, 
Midalam and other places in South Travancore and began harassing the 
inhabitants. As the whole Travancore force was concentrated in the north 
and as the attack of the Dntcli in the south was unexpected, several villages 
fell into their hands and they mai-ched to Eraniel unimi)eded committing 
atrocities all along the way. When the ^raharajah heard of this, he 
marched to the south abandoning the northern expedition and ordered 
Kama lyen Dalawa to join him at J^admanabhapuram. But before the 
arrival of the Travancore forces the whole country between Colachel and 
Kottar surrendered to the Dutch, who meeting w-ith no opposition made 
preparations to take Padmanabhapuram. The Maharajah, however, 
arrived at Padmanabhapuram just in time to avert the impending 
capture of his capital. Ho raised a fresh regiment of Nayars and in- 
corporated them with the regular infantry stationed there. Soon after, 
Rama Tyen arrived witli his wliole force from the north. The Dutch 
lost heart on seeing the Travancore army so soon before them. The famous 
battle of Colachel was fought on the irjth Karkadagam 916 M. E. (31st July 
1741 A. I).), and the Dutch were completely defeated. They retreated to 
their ships deserting their fortifications at Colachel and leaving their 
dead comrades on the battle-field. The Travancore army took 24 pri- 
soners, besides 389 mu?kets, a few pieces of cannon and a large number 
of swords. In the meantime the Dutch fleet hastened back to Cochin. 

It was just before this battle that the Maharajah had sent ambas- 
sadors to the French at l^ondicherry to conclude a treaty of friendship 
and mutual help. He promised the French the grant of lands at Colachel 

VI.] Modern History — Martanda Vaniia. 848 

and other places for constructing factories. But as the Dutch were 
completely defeated and that without much effort, the negotiations were 
dropped. Though the battle of Colachel was fought in 1741, peace with 
the Dutch was finally concluded and ratified by tlie Batavian Govern- 
ment only on the 18th October 1748. 

The Dutch prisoners were very kindly treated and they decided to 
stay and take service under the Maharajah. It is said that some of the 
descendants of these Dutch soldiers are still found in Travancore. Among 
the prisoners were two men of note, Eusiachius De Lannoy and Donadi who 
specially attracted the Maharajah's notice and whom he appointed to high 
military offices in the State. These two Dutchmen played a very conspi- 
cuous part in the subsequent history of Travancore and their military 
genius and fidelity to the Maharajah were of the utmost value to him in 
his subsequent expeditions and expansion of territory. The first, De 
Ijannoy, commonly known in Travancore as the Vulia Kappithan (Great 
Captain) was iji tlio manner of an experiment entrusted with the organi- 
sation and drilling of a special regiment of sepoys ; this he did very success- 
fully and to the satisfaction of the Maharajali. Several heroic stories are 
extant of the achievements of this particular regiment. De Lannoy was 
next made a Captain and entrusted with tlie construction of forts and the 
organisation of magazines and arsenals. He reorganised the whole 
army and disciplined it on European models, gave it a smart appearance 
and raised its efficiency to a very high order. 

About this time Nagercoil, Suchindram and Kottar were invaded 
by Chanda Sahib and Baba Sahib, two relatives of the Nawab of Arcot, 
Dost Ali Khan. Their object was the acquisition of some territory for 
the Nawab's son. The Dalawa tried to fight them out; but faihngin this, 
he gave them large presents and bought them oflf. The two chiefs im- 
mediately retraced their steps and Nanjanad was free again. 

Battle of Quilon. Soon after the expulsion of the Dutch and the 
retirement of the Moslem chiefs from South Travancore, the Dalawa with 
Captain De Lamioy, who was now made his chief assistant, directed his 
armies to Quilon whence they had been so suddenly called away to the south. 
Several battles were fought against the combined forces of the Kayan- 
gulam Eajah and the Dutch whose alliance gave the former fresh hopes. 
Much perseverance, stubbornness and heroism were displayed on both 
sides. Six thousand men of the Travancore army attacked the Dutch fort 
at Quilon which was gallantly defended by the Nayars commanded by one 
Achyuta Variyar. a Kariyakar of the Kayangulam Rajah. The Travan- 
core force was defeated and was obliged to retreat. This was iu 918 M. Z^ 

844 Tjuvancoee Manual. [Cha>- 

(1742 A. D.). The Travancore army was soon reinforced by five ihoasand 
Nayars and a corps of Sappers and Miners. Lai-ge stores of arms and aai* 
munition were purchased from the EngUshand the French. The bigg«i9fl 
mounted on the ramparts of Udayagiri, Padmanabhapuram and TriTaQ* 
drum were removed for service in the norUi and everjrthing was made 
complete for taking the fort at a given signal. 

Emboldened by his temporary victory, the Kayangulam Bajah aided 
by the Dutch forces invaded Travancore and laid seige to Eolimanur twenty 
miles south of Quilon. The Maharajah who was at that time in Suchin- 
dram (South Travancore) hastened to Kilimanur and repulsed the Kayan- 
gulam forces conducting the operations in person with the help of the 
heir-apparent Prince llama Varma, the Dalawa and Captain De Lannoy. 
The Kayangulam forces lield out for sixty-eight days, at the end of whidi 
they surrendered and the fort was retaken. The remaining part of the 
Dutch and Kayangulam forces retreated to Quilon with a heavy loss. 

Treaty of Mannar. The Maharajah then advanced upon Kayan- 
gulam and the Kajah surrendered. A treaty was concluded between the 
two parties in 917 M. E. (September 1742 a. d.). The conditions of the 
treaty were :— 

1. That the Kayangulam liajah should be a vassal of the Travan* 

core King, 

2. that the enemies of Travancore should be considered as his 

own enemies and treated accordingly, 

3. that he should pay annually Ks. 1,000 and an elephant to 

Travancore, and 

4. that he should cede a large portion of his territory to Tra- 


Annexation of Quilon. After the fall of Kayangulam, the Quilon 

Rajah allying himself with the Dutch, again challenged the Maharajah, 

but after several engagements in w^hich the Kajah sustained thorough 

defeat, Quilon was finally annexed to Travancore in 917 m. e. (1742 A. D.). 

Annexation of Kayangulam. The fallen Bajah of Kayangulam 
again intrigued. He did not pay the tribute since the ratification of tba 
treaty of Mannar. In 921 m. e. (1746 a. d.), Kama lyen proceeded to Ma- 
velikara and demanded the payment of arrears of tribute due to the Maha- 
rajah. Unwilling to pay the tribute he disposed of his properties «nd 
fled abandoning his teri-itories. The State was then annexed to TraTaa. 
^corc after a sangninnry war with the Rajah's skilful ofliccrs \vhichla8teafor 

VI.] Modern History — Martanda V^anua. S4B 

about three years. The Kayangulam Kajah had anticipated the fate of his 
army. He knew that his ill-trained Nayars were no match to the Travan- 
core forces which ha4 the advantage of European discipHne and superior 
arms. When the victorious army entered the palace in search of tlie 
Boyal family and the Eajah's tjeasure, they were surprised to find 
that there was not a soul within and that the rooms were emptied of even 
theii- ordinary furniture. The Rajah had taken away with him most 
of his valuables and what he could not conveniently carry, he threw into 
the Ashtamudi lake. But they made one important discovery. The 
arms and mihtary stores found in the palace of the Kayangulam Bajah 
bore the name of *'Devan Naiayanan", which was the emblem of the 
Ampalapuzha Brahmin Chief. Evidently tlie Kayangulam Bajah was 
uded in his wars by the neighbouring chief of Ampalapuzha against 
whom the Maharajah therefore next turned his attention. 

Conquest of Ampalapuzha. There was abmidant evidence to show 
the complicity of the Ampalapuzha Chief with the Kayangulam Bajah. 
Ampalapuzha or Chempakachery, as it was then known, was governed by a 
line of Brahmin chiefs and the reigning Bajah was a sagacious and accom- 
plished Prince. An interesting local tradition exists as to the origin of the 
Chempakachery Bajahs. The tract of the country known as Kuttanad 
was in the rule of a powerful oligarchy of Nambudiri Brahmins, their 
head-quarters being Ampalapuzha, where the ancient temple dedicated 
to Sri Krishna stands. This temple owned most of the lands there. The 
managing trustees of the temple property formed the oligarchy who 
ruled the State. The business of State used to be transacted in the Coun- 
cil-hall still known as viantrasala of the Ampalapuzha temple, where 
the proud Brahmins met every day for business as well as for recreation. 
One day while engaged in chess after business was over and rioting and 
revelling and chewing to their hearts' content, a ship-wrecked crew of a 
few hundred Europeans, probably Portuguese, arrived with their arms, re- 
lated their adventures by the sea and begged of the chess-playing Brah- 
mins to give them food and sheltei\ The thoughtless Nambudiris mad with 
the fatal game of dice and revelry told the hungry crew in a vein of cruel 
jest pointing to a pious old man coming from his ablutions and noon-day 
prayers to worship at the temple that they themselves were poor and 
humble anS could not help the unfortunates, but **here comes the greatest 
man of the village who will feed and clothe you, if you seek his help ". 
The distressed crew took it in right earnest and applied to the old man, 
explaining their miserable condition by signs and symbols and seeking im- 
mediate succour at his hands. That pious old Brahmin, be it remembered, 


was the poorest man in tlu' village a-nd lived on one meal a day, 
spending himself wholly in prayers and rehgious exercises and keeping 
himself aloof fiom his noisy but opulent neighbours. When he saw 
the supplicatioiis of these Europeans distressed by thirst and hunger 
and saw also tho jesting i-oferonce made to him by the proud dice- 
players at the wuntrusahi, he comprehended the situation in an in- 
stant, discovered that there was no escape for him and took it as a sign 
from the (^od Krishna, and thereupon handed over to the hungry crew 
one of his very Jew gold(^n rings which ft)rmed the sum total of his 
earthly possessions. Even to this day TSambudiris of all grades and ranks 
carry in their fingers a number of gold rings, each of 1 t sterling value, a 
point of special vanity with that class of people. The poor Nambudiri 
directed thejn by signs to gr) to the bazaar and sell that ring and buy their 
food and drink, which being done, they came back to his house and 
mounted guai'd tliere to do his bidding. Next day he gave another gold ring 
and that bu(lice<l for their sec(>nd day's meal. The armed aliens had now 
become his faithful j-etijuie. So runs the st